These words are Nick Catalano’s, writer for All That Jazz: “Superb jazz vocalists are rare. But rarer still are artists that transform the music itself. The great transformers — Holiday, Fitzgerald, Vaughan, Carter and others — left the stage long ago. When you see and hear Gretchen Parlato, you will recall the magic of those jazz mistresses of yore and instantly realize, as have jazz cognoscenti everywhere, that that level of magic is with us once again.”
The jazz singer is challenged with the mastery of diversity of musical language as an essence of their artistry in song. Parlato has a focus of balance that allows for forays into what appears to be artistic risk and chance, daring and seeming simplicity as her battery. Her energy is soul-deep and inspiringly original.
I like the word “beguile.” It has romance, an old-fashioned ring. Parlato is in no way old-fashioned, but she stands with respectful confidence on the shoulders of those giants of song who have come before her, and so, in that charming way, we are beautifully beguiled.