|All Artists: Gretchen Parlato|
Title: In A Dream
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 1
Original Release Date: 1/1/2009
Re-Release Date: 8/25/2009
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
In A Dream
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Gretchen Parlato's voice is a thing of wonder. Striking the ideal balance between precision and flexibility, she is never predictable, blurring the lines between singer and instrumentalist as she takes a lyric--and at othe... more »
Gretchen Parlato's voice is a thing of wonder. Striking the ideal balance between precision and flexibility, she is never predictable, blurring the lines between singer and instrumentalist as she takes a lyric--and at other times improvised flights of wordless fancy--to places it's never before been. On In a Dream, her debut album for ObliqSound, Parlato and her intuitive support team reinvent constantly, Parlato impeccably articulating in a voice so ethereal that the listener might very well feel that he or she is "in a dream." Coming four years after her self-titled debut, In a Dream finds Parlato embarking on a beguiling journey deep into the heart of both her own compositions and classic material by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and others--all of which she instantly makes her own. Each song emerges as a unique world unto itself, yet there's an undeniable thread linking them all together. Aligning with a virtuosic quartet she describes as "inspiring, creative, sensitive, musical souls"--Lionel Loueke on guitar, Aaron Parks on piano and Fender Rhodes, Derrick Hodge on acoustic and electric bass, and drummer Kendrick Scott--Parlato brings the warmth and compelling command of her much-heralded live performances to 10 exquisite new peeks into her artistic personality. In a Dream firmly places Gretchen Parlato in the upper echelon of today's vocal artists. Both Hancock and Shorter are already fans. Hancock has said that Parlato has a "deep, almost magical connection to the music," and Shorter has said "in an inconspicuous way, Gretchen plays the same instrument as Frank Sinatra."
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One of the best of the decade in my book..
Kevin | USA | 09/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you haven't heard the buzz surrounding this emerging vocal goddess, then it's about time you take a listen for yourself.
Stylistically, Gretchen Parlato has drawn comparisons to the soothing, understated, classic feel of Astrud Gilberto or Chet Baker. But such comparisons are at risk of negating the sizzling contemporary feel of the band she's assembled here, in all its rhythmic glory and orchestral genius. Each member of the rhythm section is a veteran of Terence Blanchard's band, which truly carries on the legacy of Miles Davis in his savvy recruitment of gifted young players with bright futures as bandleaders, which these four gentlemen have all become; but they offer their services as sidemen here with a joyful energy that is undeniable.
Lionel Loueke is the guitarist/vocalist responsible for the baffling accompaniment on the opening Michael Jackson cover, a heartfelt tribute the likes of which you won't hear anywhere else. Two other covers honor the legends whom both Parlato and Loueke have been privileged to learn from firsthand: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, ring any bells? The remaining trio of Aaron Parks, Derrick Hodge, and Kendrick Scott - on piano, bass & drums respectively - might not `stand out' as much upon first listen, but throughout the album they utilize their rock-solid virtuosity and sensitivity to guide Gretchen through this 'dream' that shifts seamlessly through diverse textures and forms, with an arsenal of both acoustic and electric (and bodily) instruments that keep you tapping your foot but never detract from the bliss offered by the lead voice.
Speaking of which, be advised that this is a woman who refuses to let the beauty of her music be overshadowed by her physical beauty, despite the seductive image she's chosen for the album cover, which merely serves as a perfect representation for the (you guessed it) `dreamy' theme of the set. She stares at you seemingly on the verge of peaceful slumber, inviting you to get 'lost' in this journey that takes you through Brazil, Africa, Motown, California, and her hometown of New York City, employing intoxicating sounds and grooves rooted in each of these places.
More importantly, after you listen to this album 100 times - I guarantee there's nothing to ever get sick of here, only a treasure chest that will never stop inspiring you - you'll realize that Parlato is the only singer on the scene today who can present a project of this caliber so effortlessly, because she's one of the very few (vocal) artists who knows what true expression requires, and doesn't require, and she has worked and studied to develop a flawless, uniquely angelic style that nobody can reasonably question for its tasteful technique.
Through headphones, you'll be astounded by the vulnerability that takes hold as she almost-but-not-quite whispers through many phrases. And she simply floats into her high falsetto, often in unison with the other instruments, a wonderful trick that nobody else can execute with such precision and warmth (listen for the organ in the title track). Not to mention the mature creativity of her overall delivery, or the tone so vibrant yet achingly delicate that it just might make you cry, yet still fill you with hope if you're going through difficult times...
In the end, all that's left here is great music to free your heart and your mind. Forget everything you think `jazz' means. Parlato, along with her friend and comrade Esperanza Spalding, has created an opportunity for people of all cultures and tastes, especially in the times we live in, to simply enjoy themselves through song and dance, with the liberating spirit of improvisation intact. Even if you choose to somehow ignore her compelling lyrical craftsmanship, this voice is one for the ages as an instrument alone."
Sophisticated and natural
Claire H. | NYC | 03/04/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
""In a dream" is very nice, there are many sophisticated ideas but still the sound manages to stay consistent and natural througout the album. The arrangements are smart and super accurate but not in a brainy way, the songs are very enjoyable and immediate. I'm not incredibly enthusiast about the singing style, it's elegant and refined but I find it a bit too whispered; anyway, it works well with the compositions. Overall, this album offers a refreshing perspective on the possibilities of songwriting/singing in jazz, more so if you're tired of mainstream replicas."