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Interview And Live Chat With Gretchen Parlato

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Gretchen Parlato.

Gretchen Parlato.

David Bartolomi/Courtesy of the artist

You can now hear all of vocalist Gretchen Parlato's new album, The Lost And Found, through NPR Music's First Listen series, through its release date of Tuesday, April 5. Enjoy!

Once you've given it a spin — or even if you haven't — join us at this page for a live listening party conversation: We'll have Gretchen in the studio at 1 p.m. ET next Monday, April 4. We'll speak with her and play tracks from the album, with Alex W. Rodriguez of WBGO. And at the same time, we'll run a web chat where you can post feedback, submit your questions, make fun of me, etc. See last week's Orrin Evans session for an example, and feel free to submit questions and comments now. [UPDATE: Hear the interview above, and read the chat log below.]

As more gristle to chew on until next Monday, here are five more fun facts I didn't put in the short description on the First Listen page:

  1. A version of "Juju," the Wayne Shorter tune and fourth track on this album, appears on Parlato's independently-released, self-titled debut album. But on Gretchen Parlato, it was actually a medley with "Footprints," another Wayne Shorter composition, and also featured Lionel Loueke. John Murph wrote about it for NPR Music's Song of the Day back in 2006.
  2. Alan Hampton, the guest vocalist and guitarist on "Still," has a new singer-songwriterly album out of his own, called The Moving Sidewalk. It's quite good; I largely agree with Ben Ratliff's take on it. As a point of fact, Hampton is touring with Parlato this spring — as her bassist. A multitalented musician, this Hampton.
  3. Nobody else appears on "Alo, Alo" other than Parlato: She overdubbed all her own percussion, vocal percussion and backup voices. It's akin to what she did in duet with Lionel Loueke on "Doralice" on her last album. I wonder how it will sound live — perhaps, like "Doralice," it'll be another intense drumkit and voice duet.
  4. "Henya" is a tune by her contemporary, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. He's recorded it (without Gretchen's lyrics and vocals) on his own probing new album, also out next Tuesday, April 5. Keep an eye out for it, though it shouldn't be hard to find: It's his debut for Blue Note Records. Oh look, here are Gretchen and Ambrose playing together.
  5. "Me And You," treated here as a Brazilian-tinged voice and Fender Rhodes duet, was written by another contemporary singer-songwriter, Josh Mease. He went to the same high school as Alan Hampton, associate producer Robert Glasper, and the drummer on the record, Kendrick Scott. Here's a taste of Mease's music, from the All Songs Considered blog.
  6. OK, not a fact, but a comment: Have you ever heard anyone else do "Blue In Green" in such a tempo and meter, and not make it seem like a total stunt? I bet no.

Finally, here's a live version of Mary J. Blige's "All That I Can Say," featuring its songwriter, Lauryn Hill. (Is that Queen Latifah in the crowd?) It's covered by Parlato on The Lost And Found, but not like this.




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