— Fredric Isler (@fredr1c) April 13, 2011
Vocalist Gretchen Parlato is music personified — from her heart, through concept, composition and performance, all the way to your heart and mine. All you have to do to experience this enchanting continuum is listen.
She’s not just a singer. Gretchen Parlato is a consummate musician and collaborator whose primary instrument just happens to be her ethereal, entrancing voice. The words she sings are important, especially so for the songs she’s written herself, but these words are just part of the way she expresses emotion with her instrument. Listening to her is like being deeply moved by some master of some other instrument, maybe an alto sax, and realizing that, yeah, there are beautifully phrased WORDS in there, too, words with deep meaning in their own right. Her impact as a musician transcends mere words, transcends categorization.
Check out the hypnotic “Better Than,” from Gretchen Parlato’s latest stop on her musical journey, The Lost and Found (ObliqSound). She’s one with her fellow musicians and her melody, with and without lyrics. Give Gretchen Parlato a listen and you’ll become part of this beautiful fusion. As a music lover you can’t do better than that.
On “Better Than” from The Lost and Found:
It’s a real privilege to be able to listen to and watch quality live jazz from anywhere on the planet — like from my chair in front of my computer. That’s the gift NYC’s Smalls Jazz Club offers us with its live streaming audio and video.
I had the pleasure of checking out guitarist Libor Šmoldas along with Josef Fečo on bass, Tomáš Hobzek on drums, and pianist Petr Beneš during their second set via Smalls’ streaming video this past Monday night. Šmoldas’ quartet swung hard throughout a thoroughly entertaining set. He’s a warm, inventive straight-ahead guitarist with some great ideas and the chops to express them.
Towards the end of the set Šmoldas invited legendary bassist George Mraz to sit in for a tune and Mraz clearly enjoyed his moment with the group, soloing beautifully and closing the piece by quoting that classic bass line from Miles’ “All Blues.”
I’m really glad Libor Šmoldas brought his quartet to America all the way from the Czech Republic and even happier to be able to see and hear them live, even from a distance.