Music Lessons


#002 Active Listening with Gretchen Parlato

Season 1, Ep. 2

Gretchen Parlato has been described as having a voice like honey, with a captivating style that fuses elements of jazz, Brazilian, and African rhythms, and a touch of pop and electronic influences that create a sound that is entirely her own. Personally, she is one of my favorite vocalists to listen to with her impeccable phrasing, emotive storytelling, and collaborative spirit. Parlato has become a visionary in the contemporary jazz scene. Her 2021 album Flor hit #1 on the iTunes Jazz chart and received a Grammy nomination, was #3 in the Jazzwise Critics Poll, #5 for best album from Jazzwise in 2021, and #5 on The Guardian's Top 10 jazz albums for 2021. She has worked with some of the biggest names in jazz, like Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, and many, many more. You can find all things about Gretchen at

More Episodes

  • 4. Music Lessons: Themes & Variations

    This short episodes highlights a few key takeaways from the previous 3 conversations with Ben O'Neill, Gretchen Parlato, and Alan Wilkis. All of the full-length episodes can be found at The themes and variations of this episode include Ben O'Neill's reminder to stay curious and keep working, Gretchen Parlato's framework for finding your unique voice, and Alan Wilkis' concept about what happens to an artist's work once it's released in the world.
  • 3. #003 Community and AI with Alan Wilkis (aka Big Data)

    Alan Wilkis, otherwise known as “Big Data,” is an accomplished artist, producer, and composer. His hit single, “Dangerous (feat. Joywave),” reached #1 on the 2014 Billboard Alternative chart and has since been RIAA-certified platinum. His work as Big Data is beat-driven and technology-themed, featuring collaborations with the likes of Kimbra, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, Dragonette, and Jamie Lidell, and he has performed across the globe.As a songwriter and producer, Wilkis has worked with a broad range of artists, including Channel Tres, NomBe, Atlas Genius, MNDR (pronounce?), and Moontower. In recent years, he has pivoted his unique hybrid sound into composing for film, TV, and advertising, including his score for the 2020 breakout comedy, “Drunk Bus,” multiple campaigns for Apple, and a reworking of the theme for NCIS:LA. He is currently scoring a documentary called, “Left Behind,” about dyslexia in the NYC public school system.Full show notes here.
  • 1. #001 Curiosity & Craft with Ben O'Neill

    Grammy nominated artist, Ben O'Neill (guitarist, singer, songwriter), has played with some of the best known names in Pop, Hip Hop and R&B including John Legend, Jill Scott, Common, Sting, Kanye West, Christina Aguilera, Kid Cudi, and more. He has performed and co-written songs with Tye Tribbett and his "Soundcheck" band which redefined gospel music. Ben has contributed to many RnB, Gospel and Pop recordings and served as a governor of the Philadelphia chapter of the Recording Academy. He is currently a member of the guitar faculty at The University of The Arts where he teaches lessons, ensembles and recording. His artistic releases range from eponymous singer/songwriter works to solo guitar compositions to his band of 20 years, the soul jazz organ trio, The Mini Q’s.