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Gretchen Parlato

On Saturday we went to see Gretchen Parlato at The Tron before we had to go and play a gig. It was the day of the biggest Orange March - fortunately we missed it, but there were three separate jakeys just lying on the pavement within three blocks of each other near High Street. Typical. One could almost still lift a bottle but the others weren't even conscious. Orange March days are carnage. The organisers proclaimed it a great success - there were "only" 32 arrests. *head-desk*

Anyway, the gig was really good. We went on a whim, not knowing her material at all, and it was well worth it. The band were really excellent - all top notch players: Taylor Eigsti (piano and keyboard), Alan Hampton (string bass and acoustic guitar) and Clarence Penn (drums). Their playing was subtle, complex and understated, yet still powerful. Eigsti used plenty of tricks with the piano, including playing it like bongos with the lid down and dropping sheets of music onto the strings, but it was never cheesy. His use of the keyboard (Nord, naturally) was restrained and really added to the music. He often played both piano and keyboard at once. Penn was very varied in his drumming and it just goes to show, as you so often see with jazz drummers in particular, that the drums do indeed have more than one volume setting.

Gretchen Parlato herself has a lovely voice - generally soft and subtle, always perfectly pitched (even without any obvious reference notes at the start of songs) but with one or two hints of power which she generally didn't use. I suspect she could though - I wish we'd been able to see the Ryan Quigley Big Band later that evening with it's Motown theme at which I heard she was singing.

I didn't really know most of the songs she did - some were original, some were not, but all were her own unique take on them. She also played some hand-held percussion occasionally - her sense of rhythm is impeccable.

It was a really nice gig - well worth seeing if you get a chance. Here is a review from Byas'd Opinion, here is one from Rob Adams at The Herald (you'll need to register) and here is one from the blog of Raymond Soltysek (not a blog I'm familiar with).

After that gig, we were playing with the soul band in Sloans for our singer's birthday - I think we were enjoying ourselves a lot more than the audience! It was too hot, and the room was quite small so very loud. On the way home at 2am there was a magnificent display of noctilucent clouds, best I've ever seen - we stopped up on the moors to get a photo. This is looking north over Glasgow at 2:15am.

Noctilucent Clouds Over Glasgow


( 2 comments — Comment )
Jul. 6th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
If the Orange marchers could put the energy they spend marching into something more creative, they'd be unstoppable...

Gigs sound good!

I love that photo - amazing!

Interested to read the Bill Wells' article. It's a shame - he has made some lovely music - but I agree with your analysis!
Jul. 6th, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
By the way, I just shared your picture on Twitter - credited to you, of course! http://twitter.com/#!/patrickhadfield/status/88722917310988289
( 2 comments — Comment )


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