They say the flute is the closest thing to the human voice, but on the contrary, Gretchen Parlato's lithe, airy voice is quite possibly the closest thing to the flute. Tonight, she's joined by Beninese guitarist anfellow Thelonious Monk Institute alum Lionel Loueke and North Carolina chanteuse Becca Stevens, who incorporate their own folk traditions into an evolving take on jazz composition. With Loueke's West African tongue clicking vocal percussion as the only rhythmic backdrop, listen carefully. These three pack a harmonically complex wallop, but this jazz should go down as smooth as anything to hit Carnegie Hall without ever veering into smooth jazz territory.
Fri., March 9, 10 p.m., 2012