Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Divine Ms. P + A Bone to Pick for the CD of the Week

With the release of her 3rd CD, "The Lost and Found" (ObliqSound), Gretchen Parlato has solidified her position as one of the most exciting new vocalists of the 21st Century.  Her whisper-quiet vocals not only emphasize the lyrics but also her ability to create emotion-filled and exciting wordless solos.  Listening to her interact with saxophonist Dayna Stephens on Wayne Shorter's "Juju" is exhilarating.  Also, she flexes her compositional muscles, writing or co-writing 10 of the 15 tracks on the new CD.  Once again, she displays her fluency with Portuguese on the lovely "Alo Alo" and her lovely duet with bassist/guitarist Alan Hampton on "Still" has bounce and sweetness.

Gretchen Parlato returns to New Haven and Firehouse 12 this Friday (June 3) to perform 2 shows, 8:30 and 10 p.m.  Both sets are sold out (no surprise) so call 203-785-0468 or email to to get on the waiting list.  You might consider purchasing tickets for the final show of the season, the June 10th show with the Scott Colley Trio.  For more information, go to

Download "Circling" courtesy of IODA Promonet and ObliqSound.
Circling (mp3)

 "End of the Tunnel" is the second Posi-Tone release for composer/trombonist David Gibson. It's also th second to feature his quartet of Julius Tolentino (alto saxophone), Jared Gold (organ, bass pedals), and Quincy Davis (drums).  The 9 tracks move from the "soul-funk" of Herbie Hancock's "Blind Man, Blind Man" to the Crusader's influenced "Wasabi."  Davis's drums snap and crackle on the latter, providing plenty of push for the soloists.  Tolentino stays away from cliche on his solos (no David Sanborn clone, he), rarely, if ever, overplaying - his solo on Gold's "Splat" is filled with creative twists-and-turns while the fire he displays on "The In-Whim" inspires Gold and David to really dig in.  On the same track, Gibson dials down the heat for the first few choruses before he, too, kicks it in. 

But the emphasis is on the soulful side on the majority of the tracks.  Gibson steps up on Gold's "Preachin'", a tune drenched in a gospel feel, with a wonderfully understated solo while the composer grooves beneath him and Davis hits hard. One can imagine the "amen corner" shouting "hallelujah" during the excellent organ solo, egged on by the Davis's righteous drumming.  "Sunday Morning", too, has that gospel but filtered through the Crusaders and Joe Zawinul's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy."  The quartet plays off the "in-the-pocket" drumming and full organ chords, especially in sweet trombone solo. The CD closes with a driving take of Jackie McLean's "Blue Rondo" with its cleanly executed boppish theme. Gibson and Tolentino trade choruses for the first 75% of the tune before Davis rocks and socks it to the reiteration of theme and a quick out.

"End of the Tunnel" won't challenge the listener with multi-sectioned compositions or "free" playing but seduce one with the crisp drum work, the rolling organ lines, and the fine interplay and solo work of all involved.  For more information, go to

Stay tuned for a download from the CD.

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