It’s getting tougher to label Gretchen Parlato as a jazz singer and that’s probably by design. She’s among a new breed of singer/songwriters like Esperanza Spalding whose foundation of jazz and improvisational technique is also fertilized with pop, soul and hip-hop. Her third album, “The Lost And Found” (ObliqSound) finds her among musical friends like pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott.
Most tracks take advantage of Parlato’s distinctive whispery voice -- she coos with a feathery lightness and the musicians comply with a gauzy, after-hours vibe. Drummer Scott is a master of the staccato beats that jazz up sharp covers of “Holding Back The Years” and Mary J. Blige’s “All That I Can Say,” but it’s pianist Eigsti, a distinguished soloist, who pumps up Parlato’s catchy melodies (“How We Love” and the gorgeous “Better Than”) with his thrilling acoustic and electric keyboard plays. The album’s too long by a couple tracks but stick around for her Stevie Wonder-ish “Circling” and the nocturnal vibe she and the band conjure for Bill Evan’s “Blue In Green,” sung to lyrics by Meredith D’Ambrosio. Co-produced by Robert Glasper. (15 tracks; 62:31 minutes)
Labels: Derrick Hodge, Gretchen Parlato, Kendrick Scott, Meredith D'Ambrosio, ObliqSound, Robert Glasper, Taylor Eigsti