Gretchen Parlato has an unmistakeable voice and presence, and there would be no better way to close out 2019 at The Jazz Gallery than with two nights featuring Parlato’s new music. Joined by a dream team of Camila Meza (guitar), Chris Morrissey (bass), and Mark Guiliana (drums), Parlato will premiere The Stars Or Space Between, a cohesive set of originals over two nights on the Gallery stage. In 2019, Parlato was honored with a Jazz Gallery Fellowship Commission, affording her an opportunity to compose a new body of work, and the whole band is excited about it: According to Parlato in a recent phone conversation, “It’ll be as much a premiere for us as the listener. I’ve been imagining this music all year, and can’t wait to hear it realized.” Read on for the interview below:
TJG: I hear you’ve been living in LA since June. How do you feel about living in California now?
GP: It’s coming back home, I grew up in LA. Mark and I moved from New Jersey, where we’d lived for six years. Before that, I spent 10 years in New York City. I’ll always be nostalgic for my time on the East Coast, the feeling of living there, but I always dreamed of some point coming back home and settling in Los Angeles. Thankfully, Mark was into the idea too, and our son is so happy. We love it.
TJG: Does the new music in the commission resonate with the idea of homecoming?
GP: Perhaps. The title of the show is “The Stars Or Space Between.” I wrote some thoughts for the program, stream-of-consciousness, that I’d like to share:
the stars or space between is a contemplative musical experience
revolving around life and the existence of opposition. /em>
up and down. joy and pain. day and night. light and dark.
like an inhale and an exhale, life is effort and release.
holding on and letting go. movement and stillness.
it’s finding the balance, and accepting the ever-constant changes.
there are events in our lives we view as anchors, milestones, or turning points.
like stars in the night sky, we can point to them. they define us. they guide us.
they are clearly bright and visible.
in that same night sky, is the vastness of space.
to be here may feel empty, transitional, dark, and uncertain.
but the space is only seemingly invisible.
in this journey of nothingness, everything is happening.
let tonight be about reflection of where we’ve been
the wonder of where we’re going
and most importantly, gratitude for where we are right here and now.
are we the stars or space between?
GP: These thoughts can be interpreted in many ways, as broadly as possible, or in minute detail. My hope is that the audience can connect and relate to the music: I’d like the evening to be a chance for reflection, meditation, therapy, any word that is comfortable. The songs reflect my own life and past, but my hope is that the listener can hear these songs and define their meaning for themselves, and maybe even see or hear their own story as they listen.