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
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