Gretchen Parlato, Class of 2003, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance and Winner, 2004 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition.
Gretchen Parlato was born in Los Angeles and began singing at age two. She attended the L.A. County High School for the Arts, later graduated from UCLA with a BA in Ethnomusicology/Jazz Studies, and went on to attend the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance as the Institute’s very first vocalist. That was followed by a 2003 move to New York to pursue her dream. A year later, Parlato won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and, in 2005, self-released her debut. In the years since, Parlato has toured internationally with her own band and as a guest of many world-renowned artists; notable performances include La Villette in Paris with Wayne Shorter, and the Hollywood Bowl with Oscar Castro-Neves, Gal Costa, Ivan Lins, and Dianne Reeves. Parlato’s recording credits include Terence Blanchard’s Flow, Kenny Barron’s The Traveler, and Esperanza Spalding’s 2008 self-titled album. Parlato was recently featured in The Documentary Channel’s 4-part series, “Icons Among Us: Jazz in the Present Tense,” and in a “Rising Stars” special on Japan’s NHK-TV. In 2009, Parlato released In a Dream, her debut album on the ObliqSound label. It garnered international acclaim, with Billboard magazine hailing it as “the most alluring jazz vocal album of 2009.” It also made the top year-end polls for JazzTimes, the Boston Globe, the Village Voice and NPR. The New York Times singled out Parlato’s attention to rhythm and dynamics, and proclaimed, “It’s evident that she’s an extraordinary singer.” Parlato’s follow-up album, The Lost and Found, was released in April 2011 and exposes the vast, dynamic range in her repertoire.