Gretchen Parlato.

The Sydney Con International Jazz Festival is awesome. A superb smorgasbord of jazz talent. Geoff Bull and the Finer Cuts. The Judy Bailey Trio. The Darren Heinrich Trio. You get the picture. As the promo says “…90+ artists  24 Concerts. 5 world class venues.”

At the apogee of these events is Gretchen Parlato. She is immediately arresting on stage..a little girl, shyly grasping at bits of her dress while singing to her mom. At other time a mother in a lullaby to her child. At other times a lilting dancing voice .. early morning sunlight on the waves at Bondi. Sometimes a voice tinged with hope and despair. With Artyom Manukan in a perfect partnership with the hypnotic caramel tones of his cello.

Manukan played what is called a cello..but it is an electric cello, a kind of cello on steroids, that he played at times to sound like the mad voice of a circe (siren) into the wind inviting sailors to their doom. The traditional tonal sonority of the cello is in no way diminished by this modern adaptation.

Manukan was part of a band..Marcel Carmago guitar and Leo Costa on drums/percussion…giving Ms Flors’ concert a dimension of excitement and rhythmic vitality.

There are jazz concerts and jazz concerts. Ms Flor’s performance has a vulnerability and a visual simplicity that is unique and captivating. Often abandoning the word she sings not to the ear but to the soul.

As the blurb says  “Parlato is widely acknowledged as the most original jazz singer of her generation.”


Featured image of Gretchen Parlato by David Bartolomi.