If I can be totally honest for a moment, I really resisted Gretchen Parlato at first. I’m aware that I have an unhealthy obsession with old school, torch burning, broadway-esque jazz singers and Gretchen Parlato is not that. Her sound is revolutionary, soft, measured, unlike anyone else. It’s no wonder people are saying “Gretchen Parlato has redefined how a generation views vocal jazz.”
Slowly, over the last several months, I’ve been working to break my broadway walls down a little and let Gretchen Parlato in. I’m really glad I did. The Lost and Found combines everything I love about Jill Scott, Bobby McFerrin, Cassandra Wilson, Feist, and so many other beautiful singers. This album is unique and heartfelt and I’m embarrassed it’s taken me so long to appreciate it.
Listen to Better Than in the video below. It’s a slow-jam style song written by Parlato. Click here to buy Gretchen Parlato’s The Lost and Found.
This has been in my headphones // 06, a blog feature about albums that influence me. You can also check out the last post in this series, in my headphones: nancy king live at jazz standard with fred hersch // 05.
This music video for Sara Serpa‘s City of Light, City of Darkness is so beautiful and striking I had to share it with you. I love seeing film, dance, and music collide. Here are some details about the video:
From Sara Serpa’s new album , MOBILE.
Music by: Sara Serpa (w/ Kris Davis, Ben Street and Ted Poor)
Directed by: Tiago Mata Angelino
Choreography by: Carolina Fonseca
Dancers: Carolina Fonseca, Sara Serpa
Thanks to our resident videographer, Austin Cooke, I have two more Live Jazz Monday videos to share with you. Thanks, Austin!
I also want to remind my Ottawa readers that our four-year residency at Mercury Lounge is coming to an end on November 4th and François Gravel and I would really love to have you there to say goodbye and celebrate the end of an era.
The event will take place on Monday, November 4th. There will be delicious treats, surprise guests, and of course – beautiful music. Entrance is free and the party will begin around 8:30pm with the performance starting at 9pm. See you there! Click here for more details and click here to RSVP on facebook.
This may surprise you to know, but from the ages of 11 to 18, I was a hip hop dancer. Long before I ever listened to jazz or tried my hand at singing it myself, I was listening to hip hop, r&b, and rap. Now that I’m older, I can see how closely related these genres are to the kind of music I make.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill came out in 1998 when I was 10. When I took my first hip hop class, my teacher would play Doo-Wop (That Thing) at the beginning of each class while we warmed up. A few years later I bought my own copy and I devoured every note and lyric the way a pre-teen with a new obsession does, listening with my nose in the liner notes.
Years later, even though I haven’t listened to it in years, I can still sing along with every track, including the spoken interlude recordings of a teacher having a discussion with a classroom of students about their ideas on love. I still find these interludes enchanting.
I believe that my early dance education helped me later in life when it comes to understanding rhythm in jazz. I also believe that my early obsession with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill shaped my interests in love themes. Lauryn Hill’s songs on this album are some of the most passionate, heartfelt, heartbreaking songs I’ve ever heard.
The video below is an incredible slow jam featuring d’Angelo called Nothing Even Matters.
This has been in my headphones // 04, a blog feature where I talk about albums that have influenced me or are currently influencing me. You can also check out the last post in this series, in my headphones: the audience with betty carter // 03.
In honour of my recent move to Montreal, I’ve compiled a playlist of some of my favourite french jazz songs. Enjoy!
1. La Chanson d’Hélène – Youn Sun Nah
2. Quand je march – Amy Cervini
3. Le Front Caché Sur Tes Genoux – Cécile McLorin Salvant
4. Plus Je T’embrasse – Diana Panton
5. Boum – Ilana Waldston
6. Par Ce Beau Jour Du Printemps – Renée Yoxon & René Gely
7. La maison sous les arbres – Nicole Ratté
8. La tribu des rêveuse – Sonia Johnson
9. Ne Me Quitte Pas – Kellylee Evans
10. ils ne sontaient pas là – Megan Jerome
When I was 16 years old I got my first taste for jazz by perusing the jazz collection of other users on the peer-to-peer file sharing program Kazaa (don’t worry, I’ve changed my ways since then). It was a great way to be introduced to the music because I was able to download personalized jazz collections complete with rare gems that may not get the attention more popular albums get. This is how I stumbled upon Patty Waters’ You Thrill Me: A Musical Odyssey 1962 – 1979.
Now, almost 10 years later it’s still one of the most hauntingly beautiful albums in my collection. The album consists of previously unreleased material, outtakes, and home recordings where, on most tracks, Waters accompanies herself. What continues to strike me about these recordings is just how raw and emotional they are. On one track, Waters stops abruptly and starts crying.
The songs are a mix of jazz standards, Waters’ originals, one jingle, and one 15 minute freely improvised solo piano piece called Touched by Rodin In A Paris Museum, which inspired this mixtape. Check out the title track in this youtube video and tell me what you think in the comments:
This has been in my headphones // 02, a blog feature where I talk about albums that have influenced me or are currently influencing me. You can also check out the last post in this series, in my headphones: norma winstone – well kept secret // 01.
Every since I posted the lyrics to Billy Strayhorn’s A Flower is a Lovesome Thing last week I haven’t been able to get it out of my brain. Then, while driving somewhere, Nancy King’s Perennial came on shuffle. These songs got me thinking about how ubiquitous flowers are. They are there when are married, when we die, when we are sick, at graduation, or for no reason at all. They can say “I love you”, “I’m sorry”, or “I was thinking about you today.” This collection of songs reflects upon all the ways flowers are with us in our lives.
1. Perennial – Nancy King with Steve Christofferson
2. A Flower is a Lovesome Thing – Norma Winstone
3. Blue Gardenia – Dinah Washington
4. Tulip of Turnip – Carmen McRae
5. Honeysuckle Rose – Jane Monheit
6. The Days Of Wine And Roses – Daniela Schächter
7. Apple Blossom – Esperanza Spalding
8. Lollipops And Roses – Natalie Cole
9. Lilac Wine – Nina Simone
10. A Blossom Fell – Diana Krall
Since tomorrow is Valentine’s day I decided to create a mixtape for an often overlooked bunch. This mix isn’t for the gooey lovers exchanging gifts, nor for the begrudged single people. This mix is for those separated from their special someone. Whether separated by distance or circumstance, being apart from the one you love is never easy. These songs may not make the pain go away but you can take comfort in the fact that someone, somewhere, knows how you feel.
1. Too Late Now – Roberta Gambarini
2. My Foolish Heart – Bill Evans
3. Little Girl Blue – Kate Davis
4. Where Are You? – Houston Person with Bill Charlap
5. Travelin’ Light – Shirley Horn
6. I’ll Be Seeing You – Brad Mehldau
7. Just Say The Word – Renée Yoxon & Mark Ferguson
8. Skylark / You Don’t Know What Love Is – Mark Murphy
9. Busy Being Blue – Peter Eldridge
You asked for it and now you’ve got it. I’m playing in Toronto! Very soon! On Tuesday, February 5th, I’ll be playing at Hugh’s Room as part of Jane Harbury presents Discoveries. I’ll be playing alongside three other emerging artists, The Schotts, Jessica Chase, and Tom Taylor. I know it’s going to be a wonderful evening of music and I’m really looking forward to seeing my Toronto friends and fans. Here are all the show details:
What: Jane Harbury presents Discoveries
Where: Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas Street W, Toronto, ON
When: Tuesday, February 5th, performance starts at 8:30pm
Tickets: $15 in advance/ $17 at the door (includes HST)
Reservations: Click to request a reservation or call 416 531 6604
I’m told Hugh’s Room has great food so please come for dinner and make a night of it.
See you then!
This mix is for those cloudy winter afternoons when you just don’t feel like leaving the house. Maybe you just want to sit around knitting and staring listlessly out the window. I understand you and I put this together for those day. It’s mellow, melancholy, and wistful.
1. Whiteout – Andrea Simms-Karp
2. White Keys – Chilly Gonzales
3. Secret Love – Nancy King & Glen Moore
4. Hearing Your Voice – Melissa Stylianou
5. Canyon – Megan Jerome
6. Sleep Away – Nicky Shrire
7. Gatekeeper – Feist
8. Lullaby For Ghosts – Musk Ox
9. Jolene – Susanna And The Magical Orchestra