Friday, April 20, 2012

Concert review: Gretchen Parlato in Kalamazoo, Michigan

by William R. Wood
Kalamazoo Minister of Culture

Mood. Passion. Sensuality. Color.
Words came to the lips fast with the appearance of Gretchen Parlato on Friday, April 13, for her second show in the Epic Centre in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The first thing that I heard from someone leaving following the show was that Parlato’s music was fascinating.
Our friend asked the departing guest to describe her style in one word. “Ethereal,” she replied. “Smooth,” he offered and “deep” another patron said.
“A lot of people aren’t going to go for her work,” said Steve Zegree, a Western Michigan University music professor and director of the school’s performance group The Gold Company.  “But she has her own thing,” he said after he brought 40 students to that night’s performance.
We were sitting there taking in something totally different and that’s where the CD helps, it sounds exactly like the concert. Her third CD is called “the lost and found” and released by ObliqSound GMBH.
My friend Harvey sat in his chair determined to call the music ‘smooth jazz,’ but the drummer was hitting hard, the piano was intellectual, the bass had deep soul and the lyrics were cryptic. They are reproduced in the CD’s liner notes. They sounded like Michael Franks’ due to her talk/singing style.
Pick up this CD, “the lost and found” as soon as you can, it’s simply beguiling.

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