Gretchen Parlato to come to UB Center for the Arts

World-renowned Jazz singer playing at CFA


Considered the most influential Jazz singer since Cassandra Wilson, Gretchen Parlato has cemented herself as a force within the music industry - a force coming to UB.

She is set to perform at the Center for the Arts Drama Theater this coming Saturday at 8 p.m. UB is just another step in her high-profile career, which includes performances at the London Jazz Festival and Carnegie Hall.

Since her days of higher education, Parlato has been catching the ears and hearts of audiences.

Herbie Hancock, renowned pianist, has described her style of music as being “almost magical,” taking listeners to a level of depth rarely ventured to by other musicians of the genre.

The accolades from colleagues can be found far and wide, especially being the 57th Grammy Nominee for Best Jazz Album on her project Gretchen Parlato - Live in NYC, which was recorded in the confines of Rockwood Music Hall. Her project was released as a CD/DVD combo.

While attending the Thelonious Monk Institute, she would win the Thelonious Monk Institute International Vocal Competition in 2004, a competition where her voice was noticed for its unique characteristics.

Her sound is described as understated, forceful, intimate and powerful - a sound that is so enrapturing that it is capable of creating a new facet of vocal jazz on its own.

“Our programming group chose Gretchen for the series as she is not only very talented, but has built a good name for herself in the Jazz world with great acclaim from audiences, critics, and fellow musicians,” said David Wedekindt, Director of Marketing for the CFA, in an email.

Now almost 13 years into her journey, Jazz aficionados and lovers of music in general will be able to see this dynamic artist showcase her talents in western New York.

“I'm a fan of music, I listen to a little bit of Jazz, not much. If I had time this weekend I would go, I usually go to all the concerts around here,” said Om Patel, senior computer science major.

Similarly, UB’s drama theater holds an intimate energy similar to that of the Rockwood Music Hall, seating 338 acoustics allow for an enveloping vocal presence.

“I'm a fan of listening to Jazz to hangout, I would definitely attend the event go with some friends,” said Leonardo Melo, freshman exercise major.

Parlato expresses her talents not only on the stage, but also as a teacher. She leads a number of workshops in music schools across the globe throughout her career. Her next one is at the Manhattan School of Music as an honored member of the Jazz faculty.

Taylor Eigsti will support Parlato’s performance at UB on the piano and keyboard, Alan Hampton will be playing bass, guitar and vocals and Kendrick Scott wil be on the drums.

The price of a ticket to the performance costs $34.50 for general admission and $25.50 for students, available both online and at the CFA Box Office.

This Jazz performance is one of many sets to occur during the CFA’s Jazz series - the next performances are Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls on March 19 and Kendrick Scott Oracle on May 12.

Kenneth Kasif Thomas is an arts desk editor and can be reached at