Highly influential and innovative US singer Gretchen Parlato is here with long time collaborator the Herbie Hancock guitarist and singer US based Benin jazz great Lionel Loueke.
Very much a close knit affair, Gretchen's husband drummer Mark Guiliana of Mehliana fame, Guiliana and Loueke family members and close friend bassist Burniss Travis (known for his work with Common and James Francies) figure among the personnel on Lean In which was recorded in Los Angeles over three days of March last year. It is full of Brazilian music, West African sounds and more and represents the state of the art in terms of jazz vocals and also joins the dots passing the baton from singer to instrumentalism and back again in a parity of esteem and represents another peak in both Parlato and Loueke's remarkable careers.
Songs here include Loueke tune 'Akwê' and a very fine version of Lynn Malsby's 1980s song 'I Miss You'. Parlato's sound is metrically astounding and highly expert in harnessing the power of difficult syncopated runs that still retain their communicative rather than impressive-for-the-sake-of-it appeal to gain traction and a sense of rewarding release.
Among the tracks are the Carlos Pingarilho, Marcos Vasconcellos song 'Astronauta' also known as 'Samba da Pergunta' that goes back to the 1960s covered on the 1970 album João Gilberto en México.
Also here are the Loueke piece 'Painful Joy' and a Loueke arrangement of the Dave Grohl song 'Walking After You' heard on the Foo Fighters' The Colour and the Shape (1997) a song that the Foo Fighters later re-recorded for the soundtrack of The X-Files. 'Lean In' feat. Mark Guiliana and 'I Miss You' are streaming. Lean In is released on 19 May.
MORE READING AND LISTENING:
Gretchen Parlato's Flor - 2021
Lionel Loueke's HH - 2020
Mehliana's Taming the Dragon - 2014
On Heritage the Lionel Loueke album that also features Gretchen Parlato and Mark Giuliana - 2012
Interview with Lionel Loueke - 2012
Lionel Loueke and Gretchen Parlato. Photo: Lauren Desberg