|Born||February 11, 1976|
Los Angeles, California
|Origin||New York City|
|Labels||ObliqSound, Edition Records|
Gretchen Parlato (born February 11, 1976 in Los Angeles, California) 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 Live in NYC (2013) received a Grammy Award Nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album, also receiving 4.5 stars in Downbeat Magazine, with the DVD hitting No. 1 on the iTunes best music video list. The Lost and Found (2011) received over 30 national and international awards, including Jazz Critics Poll No. 1 Vocal Album of 2011 and iTunes Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. Her 2009 sophomore release, In a Dream, was Jazz Critics Poll No. 1 Vocal Album of 2009 and hailed by Billboard as "the most alluring jazz vocal album of 2009."
As of 2013, Parlato is a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music.
Parlato was born in 1976 in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Dave Parlato, a bass player for Frank Zappa. He also worked with Al Jarreau, Don Preston, Barbra Streisand, Henry Mancini, Paul Horn, Gabor Szabo, Buddy Rich, Don Ellis, and recorded for TV and film. Her grandfather was Charlie Parlato, a trumpeter in the Kay Kyser Big Band, and singer and trumpeter for Tennessee Ernie Ford and Lawrence Welk. Growing up in the 1980s, Parlato says she was a Valley girl.
As a child, Parlato says she was influenced by Bossa nova; "I was flipping through my mom's record collection and the cover of Stan Getz and João Gilberto’s 1963 "Getz/Gilbero" album struck me. The cover had an image of an abstract painting. I took out the album and put it on and I heard João Gilberto's voice, and the texture and simplicity of the music struck me — even at 13 years old. That was definitely a turning point."
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.
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. In September 2007 she performed with Wayne Shorter at La Villette Jazz Festival in Paris.
In July 2008 Parlato signed a contract with independent record label ObliqSound. In Spring 2009 she 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. It was voted the best jazz vocal album in the Jazz Critics Poll (2009) and appeared on the annual the top ten lists of JazzTimes, NPR, and the Boston Globe.
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.
After taking a break from her heavy touring schedule for the birth of her son, Parlato signed a contract with Edition Records in Summer 2020. In March 2021 a new album, Flor, was released, with Marcel Camargo (guitar, musical direction), Artyom Manukyan (cello), Leo Costa (drums, percussion) and featuring Airto Moreira, Gerald Clayton and Mark Guiliana.
Parlato has been a guest vocalist on over 80 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.
- Vocal Jazz Album of the Year, Jazz Critics' Poll (2009), ‘’In a Dream’’
- Best Vocal Album, NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll (2011), The Lost and Found
- Best Female Vocalist, JazzTimes Expanded Critics Poll (2011)
- #1 Rising Star Female Vocalist - Downbeat Critics Poll (2011)
- ASCAP Award of Merit for Songwriting (2011)
- Best Female Vocalist Award, Jazz Journalists Association (2012)
- Grammy Award nomination, Best Jazz Vocal Album, Live in NYC (2015)
- Gretchen Parlato (self-released, 2005)
- In a Dream (ObliqSound, 2009)
- The Lost and Found (ObliqSound, 2011)
- Live in NYC (ObliqSound, 2013)
- Tillery with Becca Stevens, Rebecca Martin (Larrecca Music, 2016)
- Flor (Edition Records, 2021)
With Esperanza Spalding
- Esperanza (Heads Up/Concord, 2008)
- Chamber Music Society (Heads Up/Concord, 2010)
- Radio Music Society (Heads Up, 2012)
With Becca Stevens
- Walking in the Air (Sunnyside, 2011)
- Weightless (Sunnyside, 2011)
- My Life Is Bold (2012)
- Kenny Barron, The Traveler (Sunnyside, 2008)
- David Binney, Graylen Epicenter (Mythology, 2011)
- Massimo Biolcati, Persona (ObliqSound, 2008)
- Terence Blanchard, Flow (Blue Note, 2005)
- Terri Lyne Carrington, The Mosaic Project (Concord, 2011)
- Gerald Clayton, Life Forum (Concord, 2013)
- John Daversa, Artful Joy (BFM Jazz, 2012)
- Mark Guiliana, Beat Music (2012)
- Mark Guiliana, My Life Starts Now (Beat Music, 2014)
- Janek Gwizdala, Mystery to Me (2004)
- Francis Jacob, Side-by-Side (2006)
- Sean Jones, Kaleidoscope (Mack Avenue, 2007)
- Lionel Loueke, Virgin Forest (ObliqSound, 2007)
- Lionel Loueke, Heritage (Blue Note, 2012)
- Shai Maestro, The Stone Skipper (Sound Surveyor, 2016)
- Gregoire Maret, Scenarios (ObliqSound, 2007)
- Keiko Matsui, Echo (Shanachie, 2019)
- Nilson Matta, Black Orpheus (Motema, 2013)
- Marcus Miller, Renaissance (Victor Japan, 2012)
- Andy Milne, Forward in All Directions (Whirlwind, 2014)
- Jovino Santos Neto, Veja o Som (See the Sound) (Adventure, 2010)
- New West Guitar Group, Sleeping Lady (2009)
- New West Guitar Group, Send One Your Love (Summit, 2015)
- Joel Ross, Kingmaker (Blue Note, 2019)
- Joe Sanders, Introducing Joe Sanders (Criss Cross, 2012)
- Suresh Singaratnam, Jamie Reynolds, That Is You (Suresong, 2010)
- Nate Smith, Kinfolk: Postcards from Everywhere (Ropeadope, 2017)
- Walter Smith III, Casually Introducing Walter Smith III (Fresh Sound, 2006)
- Dayna Stephens, That Nepenthetic Place (Sunnyside, 2013)
- The Sugarplastic, Bang, The Earth Is Round (Geffen, 1996)
- The Sugarplastic, Resin (Escape Artist, 2000)
- Cunniffe, Thomas. "Gretchen Parlato: Finding The Essence". Jazz History Online. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
- 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.
- dave parlato. United-mutations.com (March 19, 1970). Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- SFYSA | Staff. Sfys.org (September 1, 2010). Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- MUSICAL FAMILY BIOS 5. Welkmusicalfamily.com. Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- Long, Kyle (September 13, 2019). "Grammy Nominated Jazz Vocalist Gretchen Parlato Brings Her Quartet To Indy Jazz Fest". WFYI Public Media. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
- West, Michael J. (December 24, 2009) The Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2009 – Arts Desk. Washington City Paper. Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- Jazz Departments: Critics Picks: Top 50 New Albums and Top 10 Historical Releases – By JazzTimes – Jazz Articles. Jazztimes.com. Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- Steve Greenlee's top jazz albums for 2009. The Boston Globe (December 20, 2009). Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- Jackson, Josh. (December 11, 2009) 2009: The Year of Living Improvisationally. NPR. Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- Morrison, Shaunna. (December 23, 2009) The Year In Jazz, From WDUQ. NPR. Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- Jazz singer Parlato mesmerizes with dream-like voice. The Boston Globe (October 16, 2009). Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- West, Michael J.. (February 10, 2011) Breath Analyzer: Gretchen's Parlato's In a Dream. Washington City Paper. Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- Murph, John. (July 20, 2009) Gretchen Parlato: Jazz From Soul. NPR. Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- Ratliff, Ben (June 7, 2009). Impassioned Singer and Bandleader. New York Times. Gretchen Parlato. Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- Montague, Joe (July 2007). "The Other Side ofGretchen Parlato". JazzReview.com. 
- Lionel Loueke Virgin Forest. YouTube. Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- Bio. gretchen parlato (March 15, 2011). Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- MUSICAL FAMILY BIOS 5. Welkmusicalfamily.com. Retrieved on August 31, 2011.
- Jazziz Feature Interview, by Kara Manning, in Jazziz magazine, Spring 2011. Retrieved on November 3, 2015.