Gretchen Parlato

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Gretchen Parlato
Gretchen Parlato.jpg
Background information
Born (1976-02-11) 11 February 1976 (age 40)[1]
Origin Los Angeles, California[1]
Genres Jazz, pop, Brazilian
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Voice

Gretchen Parlato (born 11 February 1976 in Los Angeles, California, USA) is an American jazz singer. She has performed and recorded with musicians such as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Barron, Esperanza Spalding, Terence Blanchard, Marcus Miller and Lionel Loueke.

Parlato's 2014 CD/DVD release, Live in NYC, received a Grammy Award Nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album, also receiving 4.5 stars in Downbeat Magazine, the DVD hitting #1 iTunes best music video upon release. Her 2011 release The Lost and Found received over 30 national and international awards including Jazz Critics Poll #1 Vocal Album of 2011 and iTunes Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. Her 2009 sophomore release, In a Dream, was Jazz Critics Poll #1 Vocal Album of 2009 and hailed by Billboard as "the most alluring jazz vocal album of 2009."[2]

As of 2013, Parlato is a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music.

Gretchen Parlato at Jazz at Filoli, Woodside CA 6/21/15

Early years[edit]

Parlato was born in 1976 in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Dave Parlato,[1] bass player for Frank Zappa on many albums including Zoot Allures, also working with Al Jarreau, Don Preston, Barbra Streisand, Henry Mancini, Paul Horn, Gabor Szabo, Buddy Rich, Don Ellis and recording for TV/film.[3][4] Her grandfather was Charlie Parlato, trumpet player in Kay Kyser Big Band, and singer and trumpet player for Tennessee Ernie Ford and Lawrence Welk.[5] Growing up in the 1980s, Parlato says she was a Valley girl.[1] Parlato attended Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, then earned a bachelor's degree in Ethnomusicology/Jazz Studies at University of California, Los Angeles.[1]

In 2001 she was accepted into the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance by a panel of judges including Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard and Wayne Shorter. Parlato was the first vocalist ever admitted into the program.

Move to New York City[edit]

In 2003, Parlato moved to New York City. A year later, she won first place in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. by a panel of judges: Quincy Jones, Flora Purim, Al Jarreau, Kurt Elling, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jimmy Scott. In 2005 she released her self-titled first album, Gretchen Parlato. It was named No. 5 Best Progressive Jazz CDs of 2005 by Jazz Nation and got 5 stars in Down Beat's Blindfold Test by Richard Bona. In August 2007 she was named No. 3 Rising Star Female Vocalist in Down Beat's 55th Annual Critics Poll. In September 2007 she performed with jazz legend Wayne Shorter at La Villette Jazz Festival in Paris. In June 2008, a live recording of Gretchen performing in New York was aired by Japanese NHK network television.

Relationship with ObliqSound[edit]

In July 2008 Parlato signed a recording contract with independent record label ObliqSound. In Spring 2009 Gretchen was featured in The Documentary Channel's 4-part series Icons Among Us: Jazz in the Present Tense. In August 2009 she released her second CD, In a Dream, on the ObliqSound record label, with Lionel Loueke on guitar and vocals, Aaron Parks on piano and Fender Rhodes, Derrick Hodge on acoustic and electric bass and Kendrick Scott on drums. The album was produced by Michele Locatelli. It was No. 1 Best Vocal Jazz Album in 2009 Jazz Critics Poll and in the Top 10 Albums of 2009 in JazzTimes, NPR, Boston Globe, Washington City Paper, and Hot House.

At the Healdsburg Jazz Festival in 2010, Parlato fronted a quartet with Taylor Eigsti on piano, Alan Hampton on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums.

In Spring 2010 she was nominated for Female Singer of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association. In June/July, Parlato performed at Stockholm and Healdsburg Jazz Festivals, and sold out jazz festival performances in NYC, Montreal, Paris, The Hague, Copenhagen, Stuttgart and Molde, Norway, with Taylor Eigsti, Alan Hampton and Mark Guiliana. In August, she was voted No. 2 Rising Star Vocalist in Down Beat's Annual Critics Poll.

In 2011 she released her 2nd album for ObliqSound, The Lost and Found with Taylor Eigsti, Derrick Hodge, Kendrick Scott, Dayna Stephens, Alan Hampton, with associate producer, Robert Glasper. On this album, she introduced four of her own songs and wrote lyrics to compositions of her fellow musicians and for Wayne Shorter's "Juju." In addition she reinterpreted a samba by Paulinho da Viola and popular R&B songs by Mary J. Blige, Lauryn Hill, and Simply Red. The Lost and Found placed in the top 10 in over 30 polls in the US and Europe.


2015 Awards[edit]

  Live in NYC[edit]

  • Grammy Award Nominee for Best Jazz Vocal Album

2014 Awards[edit]

  • Outstanding Female Jazz Vocalist - NYC Nightlife Awards

  Live in NYC[edit]

2013 Awards[edit]

  • No. 2 Best Female Vocalist - Downbeat Critics Poll
  • No. 3 Best Female Vocalist - JazzTimes Readers Poll

  Live in NYC[edit]

  • No. 3 Best Vocal Release - JazzTimes Readers Poll
  • No. 8 Top 10 of Festive CDs of 2013 - Jazz Breakfast

2012 Awards[edit]

2011 Awards - Some of the most notable[edit]

  The Lost and Found[edit]

  • No. 1 Vocal Album - 2011 Jazz Critics Poll
  • No. 1 Vocal Jazz Album of the Year - iTunes
  • No. 1 Best Album of the Year -
  • No. 2 Best Jazz of 2011 - NPR
  • No. 2 Best Jazz Album of 2011 - Amazon

Other work[edit]

Parlato has been a guest vocalist on over 70 recordings, including three Esperanza Spalding albums Radio Music Society, Chamber Music Society and Esperanza, Kenny Barron's The Traveler, Marcus Miller's Renaissance, Lionel Loueke's albums Heritage and Virgin Forest, Terence Blanchard's Flow, and Terri Lyne Carrington's The Mosaic Project (Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album), singing lyrics as well as wordless vocals.


As leader[edit]

  • Live in NYC (Obliqsound, 2013) **** Grammy Nominee
  • The Lost and Found (Obliqsound, 2011)
  • In a Dream (Obliqsound Records, 2009)
  • Gretchen Parlato (self-released, 2005)

As featured vocalist[edit]

  • New West Guitar GroupSend One Your Love (Summit Records, 2015)
  • Mark GuilianaMy Life Starts Now (Beat Music Productions, 2014)
  • Otis Brown III – The Thought of You (Blue Note/Revive, 2014)
  • Marcel Camargo – The Brazil You Never Heard (Camargo, 2014)
  • Andy Milne & Dapp Theory – Forward in All Directions (Whirlwind Recordings Ltd, 2014)
  • Aya Nishina - Flora (Tzadik, 2013)
  • Dayna Stephens - That Nepenthetic Place (Sunnyside, 2013)
  • Gerald Clayton - Life Forum (Concord, 2013)
  • Nilson Matta - Black Orpheus (Motema, 2013)
  • Gino Sitson - Vocal Deliria, vol2 (Buda Musique, 2013)
  • John Daversa - Artful Joy (BFM Jazz, 2012)
  • Lauren Desberg - Sideways (2012) - produced by Gretchen Parlato
  • Home - The Gift of Music - Japan Earthquake Relief (Sunnyside, 2012)
  • Lionel Loueke - Heritage (Blue Note, 2012)
  • Marcus Miller - Renaissance (Victor Japan, 2012)
  • Mark Guiliana - Beat Music (2012)
  • Esperanza Spalding - Radio Music Society (Heads Up/Concord, 2012) ***Grammy Winner
  • Becca Stevens - My Life Is Bold (2012)
  • Joe Sanders Quartet - Introducing Joe Sanders (Criss Cross, 2012)
  • Becca Stevens - Walking in the Air (Sunnyside, 2011)
  • Terri Lyne Carrington - The Mosaic Project (Concord, 2011) ***Grammy Winner
  • Becca Stevens Band - Weightless (Sunnyside, 2011)
  • David Binney - Graylen Epicenter (Mythology, 2011)
  • Jesse Fischer & Soul Cycle - Homebrew (Soul Cycle, 2011)
  • Exegesis – The Harmony of the Anomaly (2011)
  • DJ Center – Everything in Time Remixed (Push the Fader, 2011)
  • Impromptu Sessions - Danceaholic (Entertainment Group, 2011)
  • Esperanza Spalding - Chamber Music Society (Heads Up/Concord, 2010)
  • Jovino Santos Neto - Veja o Som (See the Sound) (Adventure, 2010)
  • DJ Center – Everything in Time (Push the Fader, 2010)
  • Generosity - The Generosity Project (2010)
  • Mari Yamashita - Sunflower (2010)
  • Guilherme Vergueiro - Intemporal / Timeless (2009)
  • The Brother Thelonious Quintet - Brother Thelonious (2009)
  • New West Guitar - Sleeping Lady (2009)
  • Justin Vasquez - Triptych (2009)
  • Gretchen Parlato, Suresh Singaratnam & Jamie Reynolds - That Is You (2009)
  • Kenny Barron - The Traveler (Emarcy, 2008)
  • Esperanza Spalding - Esperanza (Heads Up/Concord, 2008)
  • Francisco Pais - School of Enlightenment (2008)
  • Massimo Biolcati - Persona (ObliqSound, 2008)
  • Nick Vayenas - Synesthesia (World Culture, 2008)
  • Hironobu Saito - The Rain (Fresh Sound, 2008)
  • Ideé Ensemble (Idee/Rip Curl, 2008)
  • Sean Jones - Kaleidoscope (Mack Avenue, 2007)
  • Lionel Loueke - Virgin Forest (ObliqSound, 2007)
  • Morrie Louden - Timepiece (2007)
  • Gregoire Maret - Scenarios (ObliqSound, 2007)
  • Mari Yamashita - Erato (Erato, 2007)
  • Oddlogik - Modern Authenticity (Dtuck's Music, 2007)
  • Marko Đorđević - SVETI – Where I Come From (2007)
  • Kendrick Scott Oracle - The Source (World Culture, 2006)
  • Walter Smith III - Casually Introducing Walter Smith III (Fresh Sound, 2006)
  • Francis Jacob - Side-by-Side (2006)
  • Patrick Cornelius - Lucid Dream (2006)
  • Greg Lamy Quartet - What Are You Afraid Of? (2006)
  • Self-Scientific - Tears-2 Step (Angeles, 2006)
  • Hironobu Saito - The Sea (Fresh Sound, 2006)
  • DJ Nerstylist – Forward Listing (FMG Vinyl, 2006)
  • Terence Blanchard - Flow (Blue Note, 2005) *** Grammy Nominee
  • Self-Scientific - Change (Angeles, 2005)
  • Daisuke Abe - On My Way Back Home (Nagel Heyer, 2005)
  • Janek Gwizdala - Mystery to Me (2004)
  • Seeing Other People Original Soundtrack (2004)
  • A World of Happiness (Walt Disney, 2004)
  • The Sugarplastic - Resin (Escape Artist, 2000)
  • Guilherme Vergueiro - Amazon Moon – The Music of Mike Stoller (Windham Hill, 1998)
  • Guilherme Vergueiro - Encontro – Rio Bahia (Del Sol, 1997)
  • The Sugarplastic - Bang, The Earth Is Round (Geffen, 1996)
  • Gina & Russell Garcia - The Unquenchable Flame, A Musical Drama (1996)
  • Moog (Lifelonglife, 1994)


  1. ^ a b c d e Cunniffe, Thomas. "Gretchen Parlato: Finding The Essence". Jazz History Online. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ Ouellette, Dan (August 25, 2009). "Review: Gretchen Parlato, In a Dream". Billboard. Retrieved August 17, 2011. With her second release, In a Dream, Parlato's time has arrived. So far, the set is the most alluring jazz vocal album of 2009. 
  3. ^ dave parlato. (March 19, 1970). Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
  4. ^ SFYSA | Staff. (September 1, 2010). Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
  5. ^ MUSICAL FAMILY BIOS 5. Retrieved on August 31, 2011.

External links[edit]