Kat Parra | Birds In Flight

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United States - California - SF

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Jazz: World Fusion Latin: Latin Jazz Moods: Solo Female Artist
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Birds In Flight

by Kat Parra

Focusing on styles that range from afro-cuban, afro-peruvian, brazilian, south american folklore and Spanish Sephardic music.
Genre: Jazz: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Mais Que Nada
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5:39 $0.99
2. Dame La Llave
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4:39 $0.99
3. Softly as in a Morning Sunrise
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4:42 $0.99
4. Alfonsina y el Mar
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6:44 $0.99
5. Birds in Flight
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5:11 $0.99
6. Caravan
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6:07 $0.99
7. Oleo de una Mujer con Sombrero
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4:54 $0.99
8. These Old Feelings
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3:55 $0.99
9. Kuando el Rey Nimrod
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5:50 $0.99
10. Quizas Porque
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3:44 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
“Parra weaves myriad elements together seamlessly as she unearths realms of classic style new to even the avid Latin Jazz aficionado, and she does it with an honesty refreshing to behold these days. This CD offers fresh and timeless tunes in a beautifully organic exposé of rare and precious music. Thanks Kat! May we have some more?”
Hershel Yatovitz, lead guitarist with Chris Isaak, producer, songwriter

"Not only does Kat have a beautiful voice, but I thoroughly enjoyed her compositions, which deeply touched my heart. In her lyrics and in the way she performs each song, you can sense everything that she is feeling, whether it be love, deception, happiness or melancholy."
Viviám Lopez, WDNA, Latin Music Director & Host of “Fusion Latina”, Miami, FL

Vocalist Kat Parra’s debut CD Birds in Flight on JazzMa Records is an incredibly diverse collection of songs that showcases her versatile vocal stylings as well as glittering arrangements by award-winning trombonist/arranger Wayne “The Doctor” Wallace and pianist Murray Low. It is an aural feast; seventeen musicians appear here, playing a wide range of instruments to create a spectacular symphony of sounds, colors, and textures which is adroitly led by Parra, who’s opened for Celia Cruz, Charlie Hunter and Cubanismo. Her heartfelt honesty and purity of expression is present in every track, captivating the listener in songs that alternately make you want to get up and dance or sigh with longing.

It would be easy to simply call this “Latin” jazz, but this CD transcends that classification. Here we find jazz staples such as Softly as in a Morning Sunrise and Caravan alongside a Sephardic song, three Parra originals, and songs by well-known Latin composers.

The disc opens with the infectious samba groove of the popular Brazilian song Mais Que Nada, featuring hip-hop vocals from Parra’s son Pat Parra and an Afro-Cuban groove. Dame la Llave is another grooving number that features a masterful arrangement by John Calloway that highlights the string section and flute-playing of Masaru Koga, as well as a high-flying solo from violinist Anthony Blea. The well-known standard, Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, is transformed here into a Danzón/Cha-cha in an intriguing arrangement by Wallace. The deeply moving Alfonsina y El Mar uses a more intimate group of musicians, featuring the poignant guitar-playing of Rick Vandivier as well as hauntingly beautiful vocals by Parra.

The title track, Birds in Flight, is a hard-grooving Salsa that was inspired by Parra’s breakup with her husband at 23, and the eventual triumph of raising two sons on her own. This song was a 1999 prizewinner in the Latin Jazz category of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Caravan receives a breathtaking treatment as Parra and Wallace highlight this tune’s Middle-eastern influence with the addition of Michael Spiro on batá drums, Ravi Gutala on tablas, Katja Cooper on dumbek and Paul van Wageningen on drums. The touching Óleo de una Mujer con Sombrero, by Cuban composer Silvio Rodriguez, features gorgeous playing from flutist Masaru Koga and pianist Murray Low.

Parra has been making music all her life; in addition to singing she plays flute, guitar, and piano. Singing was initially something she didn’t take that seriously because it came so naturally to her. After her divorce she decided to study voice at San Jose State University. Parra thought it would be easy. “Boy was I in for a surprise!” Studying with Patti Cathcart (of Tuck & Patti fame) “woke me up to an entirely new world where my voice was the messenger. ‘Sing your truth,’ Patti would tell me…. There are stories to tell, heartaches to share and love to spread. The power of music is a gift that I never want to take for granted.”

Parra has performed extensively in the San Francisco Bay area, where she is based, and has also toured to New York City, Chile, and Cuba. Her work with the Santa Cruz, CA-based group Charanga Nueve found her opening for legends such as Celia Cruz, Los Van Van, Cubanismo, Las Perlas del Son, and Paulito FJ. She has also opened for Charlie Hunter, and Cold Blood with Lydia Pense, and performed in festivals such as the San José Jazz Festival, the Pacific Jazz Festival (Berkeley, CA), and the Festival de la Primavera (Santiago, Chile). In addition to the John Lennon Songwriting Contest award, she has earned awards from the Columbia College Jazz Festival, Pacific Jazz Festival, Festival de la Uva, and Festival de la Primavera.

Although the bulk of her work is in the Latin Jazz genre, Parra is a versatile singer who’s at home in R&B, Motown, blues, Top 40, and jazz. All these influences have shaped her music-making, and within Latin music she also has quite varied interests, singing comfortably in Spanish, Portuguese, Ladino and French. Her focus is on Afro-Cuban, Afro-Peruvian, South American folklore, Sephardic music of the Spanish Jews and some Brazilian music, with a few standards thrown in for good measure. When all of these styles are woven together, a beautiful jazz tapestry emerges that is exciting and inspiring to behold.



to write a review

john santos

Congratulations, Kat, for a lovely CD. It's a beautiful Bay Area production and all the musicians sound wonderful. Nice selection and sequence of tunes. Great arrangements, and I especially like the way you treated the ballad-type pieces vocally. Hats off as always to engineers Gary Mankin and Ken Lee, too!

Julia Norton

A great singer with warmth and personality!
This is a great album, perfect for entertaining on a warm summers night, you can almost feel the balmy air on tracks like Caravan, which is exquisite! Kat Parra is obviously a very accomplished singer who feels at home with ballads or up tempo numbers. Her voice is always relaxed and you feel like she's singing the songs to you for the first time. Give it a listen!

Pietro by Radio-Vinilemania

Fantastic CD!!
Ecco uno di quei CD che non dovrebbero mai mancare ad un appasionato di Jazz / Latin Jazz. Un CD veramente splendido ricco veramente di sorprese!! 10 tracce una piu' bella dell'altra dove gli ottimi arrangiamenti vanno a nozze con la splendida voce di Kat.

CD ascoltatissimo e apprezzatissimo anche in Italia!!


Ciao ciao Pietro

Wayne Wallace

This is a great recording!!
It is an honor to have helped Kat Parra with "Birds In Flight". The process was a joy to be involved with. Kat's vocals are inspired, and we were blessed with incredible creative contributions from all the musicians and engineers.

Frank Villafañe

Excellent latin jazz from an exceptionally talented musician.
Kat Parra's debut CD is nothing short of outstanding. Her sultry, alluring vocals shine on each track. Starting with "Mais Que Nada", Kat opens her CD with an uptempo modern arrangement that enhances and improves on an otherwise often over-done standard. Next, she launches into "Dame La Llave" (my personal favorite), a great tune in a style I like to call "charambomba", that literally gets you bouncing in your seat...que esta por la maceta!
"Softly..." is presented as a classic Cuban Son...and is hauntingly beautiful.

Her songs will take you on a journey from the Antilles to America; from the Iberian Coast to the Middle East and back - each track leaving its unique, indelible imprint of her evocative style. Unforgettably good...and worth getting.

Pat Parra

Beeeeaaaauuutifulll Muuuuuusic!!
Kat Parra is my mom and I rap on the first track. My favorite track is Alfonsina del Mar, the fourth one, cuz I cried the first time I heard. Beeeeaaauuuutiful. The whole album is tiiiiiiiiite. I'm very proud of my mom and this album. A must have for suuuurrrre.

John Calloway

An excellent representative of Latin jazz in the Bay Area
Kat' s work here is indiciative of the true effort and perseverance of a vocalist who has created her own niche in Latin jazz and music of the Americas.


Hola TÍA.
Saludos chilenos. Muy lindas sus canciones.
Ya las conocen todo Coquimbo; la hicimos famosa en Chile.
Muchos saludos para los gringos del comercial de "Doritos" y para toda la familia de parte de los Parra Lara.
Manden más cd´s y nosotros los vendemos en Chile!!!!!
Besos y abrazos para todos.
Chao chao

Ray Vega

Truly an amazing introduction!!
This recording serves as my first encounter with the talents of Kat Parra. This is truly an amazing introduction! Kat takes you on a musical journey that celebrates the rich sounds of Jazz, Afro-Latin, Brazilian, Andalucian, and Middle Eastern sounds. Her beautiful voice along with her mature concept of phrasing helps tie this package together into a very satisfying cohesive presentation. Kudos also to Parra for exercising great wisdom in utilizing the talents of The Creme de le Creme of the San Francisco Bay Area. The producer, arrangers, and musicians all put their very best on the table for this session.

I cannot wait for the next one.
Super Chevere!!!! (that's nuyorican for darn good!)