Gretchen Parlato has always operated from the premise that a whisper can be more powerful than a scream. Since winning the Thelonious Monk Institute International Vocal Competition in 2004, Parlato has been spellbinding audiences with her unerring ability to draw the listener into her sultry and sensual world through deft manipulation of dynamic range, often turning in her most alluring performances by enforcing an intimacy between listener and singer.
For Parlato, it’s all about the phrasing, the nuance, and the manipulation of the moment in real time. Her repertoire is as eclectic as the day is long, but whatever she happens to be tackling at any given moment bears the unmistakable mark of her own individuality. Her ability and willingness to take chances makes her part of the tradition of the finest jazz artists in the form’s history – from the Monk that is her alma mater’s namesake, to Cassandra Wilson, the singer from a generation previous to her own to which she is often compared, not so much for specific stylistic similarities as for a general willingness to take chances.
Parlato and her trio – pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist/guitarist Alan Hampton and drummer Jamire Williams – will take over UB’s Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $34.50 for the general public, and $20.50 for students. They can be found at the UB CFA box office, or through Tickets.com.
– Jeff Miers