Gretchen Parlato was born into a musical family in Los Angeles, where she attended the LA County High School for the ARTS. After earning a degree in Ethnomusicology and Jazz Studies at UCLA, she became the first vocalist to be accepted to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance in 2001. After moving to New York City in 2003, Parlato went on to win the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition in 2004. Since then, she has released 4 albums under her own name: Gretchen Parlato, In a Dream, The Lost and Found, and Live in NYC.
With an extensive international touring schedule, Parlato is an in demand teacher and performer, her voice appearing on over 70 albums, recording and performing with the likes of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Burrell, Esperanza Spalding, Terence Blanchard, Terri Lyne Carrington, Marcus Miller, and Lionel Loueke.
Maintaining top status and world wide critical acclaim, Parlato has been praised and admired for displaying a musical individuality loaded with paradoxical powers. Her sultry, intriguing voice and unique, rhythmically agile phrasing comes with inescapable centripetal force; the more intimate and understated she sings, the more she draws listeners in.
"Her vocal approach is so unique and her repertoire so eclectic that she stands to create a jazz vocal genre unto herself." –All About Jazz
"The emblematic jazz vocalist of her generation, and perhaps the most visionary. A good singer, we tend to think, seeks out the subtleties to work with in a song. Parlato seeks out the blatancies in a song and makes them subtle, seemingly effortlessly. It takes courage to maintain such gentleness, and brilliance, maybe even genius.” –Washington City Paper