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2016-02-13

7:30PM

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"Gretchen Parlato is a singer with a deep, almost magical connection to the music."
- Herbie Hancock

"Alan Hampton is a songwriter who makes you reach for platitudes about 'good music' -- how people don't write adventurous or honest pop songs anymore, how it's all archness and monotony now, how our harmony-starved ears have shrunk. He does that because he's got loads of talent." - Ben Ratliff, New York Times

Valentine Weekend featuring Gretchen Parlato & Alan Hampton Duo

GRETCHEN PARLATO

In the ten years since her arrival in New York City, Gretchen Parlato has emerged as one of the most inventive and mesmerizing vocalists of her generation. In an artful communion of space, texture and a genre-bending repertoire, she has introduced a musical sea-change, making the power of subtlety front and center in jazz.

Parlato┤s new album and DVD set, Live in NYC, serves as both a gift of gratitude for those loyal fans and a window into her captivating concert performances. Style Weekly gives insight to her live performances, saying "in performance, jazz vocalist Gretchen Parlato is a revelation... her diaphanous voice expands into an instrument of impressive range, rhythmic sophistication and emotional power." The Jazz Breakfast even picks up on the differences between her records and live performance, commenting, "the New York-based Californian and her band are terrific on record, but in live performance they fill the music with even more energy, stretching it like some magic pliable plastic into new and exciting forms. The rhythmic and dynamic expertise of all four is extraordinary. They shift the accents around, they pause, and fall back in perfectly, they deepen the groove and then ┤shallow┤ it gently again." This set truly exemplifies the evolution of these songs since their inception years ago.

While Parlato has performed on some of the world┤s most prestigious concert halls including Carnegie Hall, Hollywood Bowl, London Jazz Festival, North Sea & Montreal Jazz Festival, she chose the intimacy of Rockwood Music Hall for this special recording. Two different incarnations of Parlato┤s transfixing working bands came together for two nights in December 2012 to record Live in NYC. "Over these years of touring together, two specific bands have stood out to me: Taylor Eigsti, Alan Hampton, and Mark Guiliana, and Eigsti, Burniss Earl Travis II, and Kendrick Scott. Each band has their own unique dynamic and approach to the music. I knew I had to feature both. I┤ve spent so many years touring with these wonderful musicians," she explains. "I┤ve always wanted to capture and share the magical energy, connection, and interaction of a live performance. Singing with these musicians has uplifted and inspired me, each of them supporting and challenging me as a singer."

Herbie Hancock┤s "Butterfly," which opens the album, has changed from In a Dream┤s intimate trio performance with guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke and bassist Derrick Hodge, to a simmering, soulful full-band treatment here. "Al˘ Al˘" from The Lost and Found, has intensified from its original multi-layered track of Parlato┤s voice and percussion, to a driving rhythmic showcase, each band member playing their instruments percussively. One of Parlato┤s most popular covers, a Robert Glasper re-arrangement of SWV┤s "Weak," played live moves with a spacious, shifting, and elusive groove that spotlights the band┤s elastic cohesion. Live in NYC closes with Parlato┤s original "Better Than," with the audience singing along, almost chanting together in this spellbinding arrangement.

In documenting the evolution of song and artist, Live In NYC both captures the kinetic energy of the room and reveals the tender relationship between artist and audience. It is, at its core, a joyful expression of Parlato┤s heartfelt appreciation for those she has met along the way.

ALAN HAMPTON

Alan Hampton is a busy man. When he's not on the road, playing bass and singing with Andrew Bird, Meshell N'Degeocello, Gretchen Parlato, and Robert Glasper, he might be in the studio, laying down tracks for Sufjan Stevens, Luke Temple, Derrick Hodge, Kendrick Scott, Esperanza Spalding, or The New Pornographers. But somehow, in between tours and takes, Hampton has also been steadily crafting his own sound. When Hampton released his debut record, The Moving Sidewalk, in 2011, The New York Times proclaimed him a musician with "loads of talent." Now, after three years of touring, recording, and writing, his sophomore album, Origami for the Fire, is scheduled for release on November 4, 2014.

"Before tour started, I went to a studio in Upstate New York with Bill Campbell (drums) and Pete Rende (keyboards) with a lot of half- written songs, and walked out with some nice basic tracks. Then tour began and I snuck in sessions whenever and wherever I could, in London, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Chicago, New York."

Hampton began his musical career as a jazz bassist in Houston, Texas, where his obvious talents earned him invitations to the renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, then the New School in New York City, and finally a coveted spot at the Thelonious Monk Institute in LA, where he studied bass with jazz Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, and John Clayton and performed internationally with Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard and Wayne Shorter. But Hampton was only getting started. Upon his move back to NYC, bandleaders began taking notice of his voice.

Hampton's fluency in various musical genres is evident throughout Origami for the Fire. The opening track, "Every Living Part," features Hampton's upper register vocals and a Hammond Organ that calls to mind an old soul record. It's followed by "Leaf," an up-tempo two stepper-turned-surf rock by a unique baritone guitar performance courtesy of Ryan Scott. "Lie In It" combines the casual delivery of Paul Simon with the harmony of Jobim and Brian Wilson. Songs like "It's You" and "Won't" reveal Hampton's jazz and Rhythm and Blues influences.

"It's so great to record with musicians you know how to communicate with. The close proximity to each other really inspires spontaneity. It makes you play like you would in your living room."

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