Old school, new school

By JON GARELICK  |  October 8, 2009

On In a Dream, Parlato covers Antonio Almeida & Dorival Caymmi's "Doralice" from Getz/Gilberto, but in her own way, accompanied only by handclaps and rhythmic vocal effects — hums, clicks, whistles, sung bass lines — from Loueke. The lavish SWV ballad "Weak" — though played by a full band including Fender Rhodes piano, bass, and a busy drum intro — is similarly stripped down in comparison to the original, Parlato's vocal understated in the urgency of lines like "My heart starts beating triple time with thoughts of loving you on my mind." Stevie Wonder's "I Can't Help It" shows off Parlato's freakish rhythmic command as she uses her breaths and repetitions of the title phrase against Loueke's own vocal rhythms and guitar, another urgent refrain within the floating dreamworld.

"It's such a great song, such a gritty song, I thought, let's do it simply. And I know Lionel isn't going to play it as a simple bossa nova, he's going to add all this craziness to it, and then it's 'What if you sing the bass line as you play?' The approach is always the same, to get to the heart of the song, find the juicy part, milk that and add to it, moving it forward in some way. And then maybe people will hear the song in a way they never did before or pay attention to a different aspect of the song. That's a nice challenge, and nice result."

GRETCHEN PARLATO | Regattabar, Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge | October 15 at 7:30 pm | $16 | 617.395.7757 or www.regattabarjazz.com | AMANDA CARR & THE KENNY HADLEY BIG BAND | Scullers, DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston | October 15 at 8 10 pm | $22 | 617.562.4111 or www.scullersjazz.com

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