Grammy-Nominated Jazz Singer Karrin Allyson's Holiday Concert
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The last date listed for Jazz Singer Karrin Allyson in Concert was Friday December 12, 2008 / 10:00pm.
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It’s not just critics who love Karrin Allyson. It’s the rest of the world, too—musicians, concertgoers and connoisseurs of quality music. The two-time Grammy Award-nominated singer has been gathering fans everywhere jazz can be heard or seen since 1992.
That was the year Allyson assembled her Kansas City-based rhythm section, borrowed funds from her family and headed into the studio. The result? I Didn’t Know About You. The reaction was immediate. “Stunning debut! Irresistible twists of melody and inflection,” wrote veteran jazz critic Neil Tesser in Playboy Magazine, placing the young singer in the company of legends Ella Fitzgerald and Shirley Horn. Critics and jazz lovers from coast to coast echoed the news. And, now with the release of her ninth Concord Records CD, Wild for You, Allyson is serving notice to all who were previously unaware—she is a major talent that is about to drive you wild.
Recording the music that first inspired Allyson to sing during her childhood, Wild For You is a highly personal coming of age, a deeply touching tribute to the great singer / songwriters and their music of the 1970s. Whether it is the irresistible groove of Joni Mitchell’s “All I Want,” the undeniable sass of Melissa Manchester’s “I Got Eyes,” or the highly personal plea of Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word,” Allyson is able to capture the essence of these classic melodies and timeless lyrics while convincingly making them her own.
Over the years, Allyson has performed several of the tunes on Wild For You during live dates to a hearty audience response. Favorites have included Carly Simon’s “Mind on My Man,” Roberta Flack’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” and Carole King’s “It’s Too Late.” Allyson says now felt like the right time to release these important works as a collection, primarily as a result of consistent and constant requests from her fans. She also notes, “When I first discovered jazz in college, I delved into the songs of Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. But I never forgot about these great ‘pop’ tunes and featured them during live performances. I also included a few of them on previous recordings. I am so excited that I have been able to now dedicate a whole CD to these tunes.”
Karrin Allyson has recorded a series of nine CDs for Concord Records, each of which have showcased her astonishing breadth of repertoire, from standards by Gershwin and Porter to Brazilian bossa nova to samba and Thelonious Monk. Most recently, the vocalist has sharpened her focus, taking on in turn French and Brazilian music (From Paris to Rio), the genius of John Coltrane (Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane) and the blues (In Blue).
Her many eclectic and steadfast recordings, however, are only the tip of the iceberg. Karrin Allyson spends two days out of three on the road, playing the major jazz festivals and clubs of the U.S. and making repeated tours overseas. In February 2004, she toured Australia for the first time. This summer, she embarks on yet another tour of Europe, South America and the Far East.
As well as traditional jazz venues, Allyson has appeared at Carnegie Hall as part of a special tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, and at the 92nd St. YMCA in New York City. The singer has been a popular and welcomed guest of Garrison Keillor on National Public Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion on several occasions, most recently from Tanglewood. And finally, Allyson and her band have performed with symphony orchestras around the country, including the new Carnegie Hall concert series at Zankel Hall.
What has generated this much esteem and success? First of all there is the singer’s uniquely distinctive voice. Notable jazz critic and historian Gary Giddins affirms, “Allyson coolly stakes her claim. She brings a timbre that is part ice and part grain…incisive, original, and emotionally convincing.” The Houston Press agrees wholeheartedly, “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.”
But there is more. When one listens to Allyson, you hear heart, intelligence, and musical sophistication. Her emotional range, from heartfelt to sassy, is beyond her musical peers. And there is a literate and engaging connection that honors the great traditions of blues, jazz and roots, expands to the Great American Songbook and embraces French and Brazilian rhythms.
The classically trained Karrin Allyson is also a great bandleader—she is a musician’s musician. If you listen carefully, you will hear highly developed musical interplay with her band that sounds so effortless and natural that it conceals the deep level of musical sophistication. This is one of Allyson’s great achievements, and it is the result of working for more than a decade with an ensemble of fearless and powerfully committed jazz virtuosi. Together, they have developed a powerful and flexible language and style unique among current groups.