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In A Dream by Gretchen Parlato

In A Dream is the first release for Gretchen Parlato on the Obliq label. Ms. Parlato has a previous independent CD released in 2005. Since that time she has honed her craft on an impressive number of albums by some of the top names in jazz. A vocalist with a distinct style, a beautiful soprano tone that whispers magic. Parlato is joined on In A Dream by a group of musicians whom she has developed a close synergy with, they appear together in many different settings. Lionel Loueke on guitar and vocal, Aaron Parks on piano, Derrick Hodge stand up bass and Kendrick Scott playing drums, are the perfect accompanists and co-participants of Ms. Parlatos’ dream world.

In A Dream is made up of ten tracks and each song flows smoothly with jazz sensibilities, world rhythms and contemporary sounds. The song "Within Me" composed by Francis Jacob opens with a bass line that is upbeat and hopeful. Drums enter on a jazzy groove, brushes on snare and cymbals driving the rhythm at a double time as the piano strikes a dream like chord. Gretchen Parlato singing in a laid back manner, sweet, soulful and passionate as she brings the lyrics to life with vivid imagery. The piano of Mr. Parks grows in depth and adds skillful embellishment to the melody. The song is understated yet over the top with beauty and melodic mastery.

"Turning Into Blue" composed by Allan Hampton and Gretchen Parlato is another beauty. This is a contemporary composition that blends many musical influences. A tune with a strong jazz groove and a wonderful arrangement that features glorious sounding piano melody. Ms. Parlato sings with a purity of voice that places her heart directly in the centre of the composition.

"On the Other Side" has a great funk groove. A happy go lucky feel that transitions into a chorus that sounds as a love song. Mr. Loueke has his guitar operating as a percussive instrument hitting harmonics and rubbing strings as shekere while firing off blistering runs, short and sweet. Ms. Parlato sings a sad song and makes it sound lovely, her style an optimistic delight.

In A Dream highlights the mastery of a gifted vocalist and allows her to showcase her tremendous creativity. The song "Butterfly" composed by Bennie Maupin, Herbie and Jean Hancock is brilliantly performed. I received a promo copy of the CD and it has two versions, the shorter version loses the child singing in the introduction. Loueke and Parlato have a delightful simpatico on this song. The guitar and the vocal as one, perfection.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Gretchen Parlato
  • CD Title: In A Dream
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Obliq Sound
  • Tracks: I Can’t Help It, Within Me, Butterfly, In A Dream, Doralice, Turning Into Blue, E.S.P, Azure, On The Other Side, Weak
  • Musicians: Gretchen Parlato (vocals, percussion), Aran Parks (piano, Fender Rhodes, organ, glockenspiel, synthesizer), Lionel Loueke (guitar, vocals), Derrick Hodge (acoustic bass), Kendrick Scott (drums, percussion)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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