Gretchen Parlato/Gregory Porter – Madison Square Park – June 27, 2012
Two GP vocalists at one gig, neither of which I was familiar with beforehand, both proving worthy. Additional post-production research was therefore necessary, for more background filler (or, trivia, depending on how you see it) to throw in here. Parlato came up through the Thelonius Monk Institute (yes, thankfully there is such a thing), with an interesting pedigree: her grandfather played with Lawrence Welk, her bass-playing father toured with Frank Zappa! Porter is a striking figure with his (let’s find the right word for this) distinctive? idiosyncratic? bizarre? iconic? head gear (worn in all photos of him that I could locate). He has soaked up various black influences for his own impressive soulful synthesis. Don’t ask me to figure out his autograph scrawl neither, although that could be said for most of the day’s signatures.