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Sass and Class Vocal Jazz
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- Monday, May 15, 2017
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About Karrin Allyson
The Houston Press — “If there’s a choir in heaven, someday the exquisite vocalist Karrin Allyson will lead it. She’s such an otherworldly talent that the creator probably already has her on heavy rotation.”
Well, no worries, mate, Karrin Allyson will be part of this earthly choir for a very long time. But she is moving on, after a jam-packed career with Concord Jazz — thirteen albums, four Grammy nominations, and a recent self-produced holiday album, Yuletide Hideaway that won four stars from Downbeat.
In May of 2015, as part of a new agreement with Motéma Music, Karrin headed back into the recording studio for a very intimate look at the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, accompanied only by a rare and distinctive pairing of Kenny Barron on piano and John Patitucci on bass. “Many a New Day (Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein)” will be released on 18 September 2015. For Karrin, who once played Nelly Forbush in a production of South Pacific as a teenager, this album is a return to source. “I’ve been all around the world musically, from bop and bossa and chanson to blues and singer- songwriters. And now, I feel like coming home. I find myself powerfully drawn to the world of Rodgers and Hammerstein.”
“Why? Well, the tunes for starters – gorgeous melodies, near perfect lyrics, music that begs to be sung. Their music is filled with innocence, optimism, a confident can-do response to any problem, an appealing wise-guy humor, a sense that we all belong together on this wonderful planet.” So, Allyson chose to explore Rodgers & Hammerstein in a very spare, honest setting — just a singer, telling the story with two masterful partners, underlining and extending.
Karrin lives in New York City, following a childhood in the Midwest, schooling in the Bay Area, a degree in classical piano performance and important stints in Minneapolis and Kansas City, where she began her recording career with Concord Jazz. Karrin currently spends two days out of three on tour, playing the major jazz festivals, concert venues and clubs of the U.S. and making repeated tours overseas — to Brazil, Japan, Australia and the great cities of Europe. Throughout 2014 Allyson was featured as solo vocalist in the ‘Newport —Now 60’ Tour which played in thirty cities across the US and Canada before concluding the 2014 Newport Festival.
Among musicians, Karrin is known as a great bandleader and one of the deep pleasures of the current scene is listening to her highly developed interplay with her bandmates — it sounds so effortless — but it conceals a deep musical sophistication. It’s one of Allyson’s great achievements — the result of working over the years with an ensemble of fearless and powerfully committed jazz virtuosi. Karrin has also developed a unique relationship with the multi-talented L.A. composer Chris Caswell and the two have collaborated for nearly ten years as composers and performers in a very spirited ensemble featuring Caswell on Hammond B-3 organ. In fact, Karrin has been doing a lot of writing of late and promises an album of original songs in the near future.
It’s no surprise that music lovers and critics around the world have been singing Allyson’s name from the roof tops, marveling at the range of this extraordinary musician, who moves with such ease and authority from the Great American Songbook of Gershwin and Porter to the Great American Jazz Songbook of Duke and Thelonious and Miles and Dizzy, jet-setting to Rio and Paris and swinging back home to pick up Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell and Jimmy Webb, not to mention her mean facility for singing down home Kansas City blues. What unites this wide world of music — brings it together and makes sense of it all — is Karrin’s warmth and depth. She’s not just singing a lyric; she’s telling you her story. And then that becomes your story. You hear the music from the inside out.
Listen to the legendary jazz critic Gary Giddins in The Village Voice: “Allyson coolly stakes her claim. She brings a timbre that is part ice and part grain — incisive, original, and emotionally convincing.”
Heart, intelligence, warmth — an emotional range from bittersweet to sassy —you hear it every time you listen. Make no mistake — Karrin Allyson is singing to you.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“…utter musical fearlessness….a complete artist — one of the jazz world’s finest…” — New York Times
“If there’s a choir in heaven, someday the exquisite vocalist Karrin Allyson will lead it. She’s such an otherworldly talent that the creator probably already has her on heavy rotation.” -Houston Press
“Allyson knows what jazz singing is all about…sometimes tender, sometimes tough, (she) always strikes the right chord.”
— Associated Press
“The stuff that shivers are made of, both innocent, sexy, and world weary.” -Washington Post