DownBeat March 2021

In 2014, Gretchen Parlato’s album Live In NYC earned her a Grammy nomination—a crowning glory to a decade of career triumphs—and then the singer-songwriter nearly dropped out of sight. T hrough the nine tracks on her new album, Flor (Edition), Parlato speaks to the personal trans- formation that inspired this career hiatus. and often included them in her performances. And Camargo, who was born in São Paulo, lent a native son’s intuitive understanding of Brazilian idioms to the arrangements. Both agreed then that a project proceeding from this shared interest was in order. But that session with Camargo would be Parlato’s last project before her son, Marley, was born—many months before the Grammy awards were handed out on Feb. 8, 2015. Live In NYC would be her last leader date until Flor , scheduled for a March 5 release. The origin of the Flor project dates back to 2014, when Parlato collaborated with guitarist Marcel Camargo—a friend since their days as ethnomusi- cology students at UCLA—on his fully orchestrated, self-produced EP Behind Jobim . Parlato was a natural choice as vocalist for the Brazilian jazz recording, not just for her rarefied vocal timbre, which lends itself so easily to the style, but for the specific bond the two musicians had forged over a shared love of Brazil’s sultry song forms and bewitching rhythmic patterns. Parlato, who was raised in a family of professional musicians, brought a discerning ear to the proj- ect—she’d spent decades immersed in the works of Brazilian composers “When I was pregnant with Marley—and definitely once he was born—a feeling came over me to settle and focus, to shift my mindset to providing as stable an environment as possible for our family,” Parlato explained in a Zoom call from the Los Angeles home she shares with her husband, drummer Mark Guiliana. Stability on the home front meant that Parlato had to reprioritize the demands of her working life. So, she vetoed grueling weeks on the road in favor of

short, occasional tours with Marley in tow and contributing to other musicians’ album projects while her own recording career

remained on hold.


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