Mainstage Theatre, 216 Union Street, Seattle
Two “musical soulmates,” vocalist-arranger Gretchen Parlato and guitarist-vocalist Lionel Loueke have been friends and collaborators for more than 20 years. The two met in 2001 while studying at The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at the University of California, Los Angeles. “We started playing together more and more,” says Loueke. “It was obvious for me that we were definitely connected.” In 2003, both musicians cut their teeth on New York City’s jazz circuit, often playing duo concerts, or inviting one another as guests within larger ensembles. Over the next three years, they both would emerge as major artists on the rise, with Loueke working with luminaries like Terence Blanchard and Herbie Hancock; and Parlato winning first place in the 2004 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition, gaining the attention and mentorship of Wayne Shorter and others. Both share a pan-genre approach to their artistry with global influences as the cornerstone of their expression. Lean In, their first formal duo project was conceptualized, written, and recorded while in the grips of a global pandemic, Lean In bears the various loads of the last three years: a worldwide public health crisis, the traumatic losses of black life, police brutality, devastating wildfires across the world, an economic recession, a tense election punctuated by insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and a myriad of civil and human rights hanging in the balanceAs with all of life, the meaning in our work, our thoughts and ideas can and do shift with time and perspective. With Lean In, Loueke and Parlato celebrate, contemplate, mourn, and rejoice the events of their 20-year journey as friends and collaborators who remain in awe of one another, through the tenets of their message, their playfulness, their enchanting sound, and rhythmic complexity laced with wit and dexterity — imbuing the songs with a timeless relevance for all who listen for years to come.
“The artistic accord between Gretchen Parlato and Lionel Loueke can be compared to one Billie Holiday shared with Lester Young. The dynamic duo often create rainforests of sonic wonder” (John Murph, DownBeat).
$35 Advance // $40 Day of Show // $15 Students