Gretchen Parlato
Artist release. Available from Bandcamp.
4 stars
Reviewed by Robert Vale

US singer/lyricist Gretchen Parlato’s outstanding 2021 release Flor comprises a set of pieces performed on her 2018 tour of Australia and New Zealand; some Brazilian bossa, some tunes reflecting her focus on motherhood and her own inner child, and an interpretation of a J S Bach minuet. On several tracks, Parlato either adds some vocalese, or some delightful and appropriate scatting. Think here of Bobby McFerrin, whose influence she acknowledges. Accompanying musicians include Brazilian guitarist and bossa exponent Marcel Camaro, creative percussionist Leo Costa and jazz cellist Artyam Manukyan. Events in Parlato’s life which prevailed in the lead up to this recording were empowering. In 2014 when aged in her late 30s, she became a mother and put her career on hold. She has now re-emerged with a recording which evidences both her motherly joy and a new higher standard of performance, “a blossoming, an opening, an offering, a return.” Track five What does a lion say? says it all.