Desert Island Jazz
Kat Parra (2011)

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(Photo by Michelle Longosz)

It's well known that Kat Parra is a singer, but not that she's also a multi-instrumentalist: flute, piano and guitar. She's been part of the lively Latin Jazz community in the Bay Area for many years now.

Kat trained on classical flute at UCLA, but has always been singing, and she finally started formal training at San Jose State. She has Patti Cathcact of Tuck and Patti to thank for guiding her down the right path to find her true voice.

Kat has spent time in Chile and Cuba, and has a true facility with languages: she sings in Spanish, Portuguese and French as well as English. But it's the music of the Spanish-speaking countries that seems to pull her in, especially the Sephardic music of the Spanish Jews.

Kat honed her skills as a salsa singer with the group Charanga Nueve, and for the last few years, has devoted herself exclusively to music after raising two sons as a single parent. (On meeting Kat, it's hard to believe that those sons are now in their 20s: she smiles and tells you she was married at age 18.)

Kat's album "Azucar de Amor" was the first production of Patois Records not to feature label owner Wayne Wallace (who continues to provide her great support), and it was on many "Best of Latin Jazz" lists of 2008, as were her other two recordings in their years.

At the time of her being cast away on the desert island, Kat's most recent recording is "Dos Amantes", but it won't be the most recent for long: the call of the studio will be answered in a week or two.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Bari Ojos de Brujo Tanguillio de Maria Harmonia Mundi
# 2 Virginia Rodrigues Nós Male Debalet Natasha
# 3 Miles Davis Cookin' My Funny Valentine Prestige
# 4 Cassandra Wilson Blue Light 'til Dawn You Don't Know What Love Is Blue Note
# 5 Hubert Laws The Rite of Spring Syrinx CTI
# 6 Susana Baca Espíritu Vivu Se Me Ban los Mios Luaka Bop
# 7 Kat Parra Dos Amantes A la Nana JazzMa Records
# 8 Ray Barretto Salsa Caliente de Nu York! Indestructible Nascente
Book Pema Chödrön, "When Things Fall Apart"
Luxury Item A solar-powered massage chair
Castaways by date
Melissa Aldana
11 Mar
Ron E. Beck
29 Apr
Pascal Bokar
07 Oct
Shanna Carlson
18 Mar
Sara Caswell
25 Mar
Carlos D'l Puerto
22 Jul
Kellye Gray
15 Jul
David Hart
04 Nov
Bruce Jenkins
09 Dec
Ellen Johnson
17 Jun
Steffen Kuehn
02 Dec
Paul McCandless
08 Jul
Allison Miller
15 Apr
Melissa Morgan
29 Jul
Linda Oh
05 Aug
Dafnis Prieto
24 Jun
Jim Pugh
30 Sep
Fred Randolph
05 Feb
Harvie S
03 Jun
Jake Shapiro
10 Jun
Marcus Shelby
15 Jan
Bria Skonberg
04 Mar
Mark Soskin
20 May
Leslie Stoval
19 Aug
John Stowell
08 Apr
Toots Thielemans
02 Sep
Roseanna Vitro
26 Feb
Paul VornHagen
14 Oct
Don Was
12 Aug
Danielle Wertz
27 May
Howard Wiley
28 Oct