Gretchen Parlato's jazz jukebox

The New York singer offers her pick of the sweetest jazz sounds around

Photograph: David Bartolomi

Much like Gretchen Parlato’s voice, Live in NYC, the first nonstudio album and DVD from the New York jazz singer, is gentle but assertive. It’s soothing and subtle, but the way its flexible rhythm sections back Parlato through jazz standards, R&B tunes and more paints a crisp, singular picture. In advance of a Friday December 13 release gig, we asked Parlato to name her top live vocal albums from the worlds of jazz and soul.

Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea, Play

Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea, Play (1990)

“You’re kind of invincible when you’re young.… You’re like, I wanna do that. That’s kind of the thought I’ve always had when I would hear Bobby McFerrin.”

Donny Hathaway, live

Donny Hathaway, Live (1972)

“He has one of, if not the most, strikingly beautiful, soulful voices that I’ve ever heard. It seemed like every note just oozes out of him, like, completely effortlessly.”

Sarah Vaughan at Mister Kelly's

Sarah Vaughan, At Mister Kelly’s (1957)

“Just for her phrasing, for her swing, for just a definitive jazz singer— that album is just incredible in what she does with standards.”