Milo Sprague – Piano and Rhodes
Jeff Johnson – Bass
TBA – Drums or guitar
Throughout her fifteen albums, Karrin Allyson, five-time Grammy nominee in the Best Jazz Vocalist category, has demonstrated an uncanny ability to “get inside” a lyric—to take over a song and reshape it into something magical. Now, in a brand-new album released in April 2018, she steps forward commandingly in a new role as songwriter, revealing thirteen new songs in an astonishing range of styles and moods. “It feels like coming home in a way,” says Allyson. “As a young musician I was writing songs in a variety of styles, even before I discovered jazz. I loved the singer-songwriters of my youth and I followed their influence. Now, after years of performing all sorts of jazz and Brazilian and French music, I’m coming back to where I started. These songs are quite varied in style—very ‘Allyson-like,’ I suppose you could say. I’ve always loved to mix things up.”
Allyson 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. She currently spends two days out of three on tour, playing the major jazz festivals, concert venues, and clubs around the country 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 United States and Canada before concluding the Newport Jazz Festival of that year.
Among musicians, Allyson 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 is one of Allyson’s great achievements—the result of working over the years with an ensemble of fearless and powerfully committed jazz virtuosi. She has also developed a unique relationship with the multitalented Los Angeles–based composer Chris Caswell, and the two have collaborated for nearly ten years as composers and performers in a very spirited ensemble featuring Caswell on the Hammond B-3 organ. In fact, Allyson has lately been doing a lot of writing and promises an album of original songs in the near future.
It is no surprise that music lovers and critics around the world have been singing Allyson’s praises, 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, Thelonious, Miles, and Dizzy, jet-setting to Rio and Paris and swinging back home to pick up Bonnie Raitt, 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 Allyson’s warmth and depth. She is not just singing a lyric; she is telling you her story. And then that becomes your story. You hear the music from the inside out.
Allyson’s gorgeous singing voice is true, mature, and a delight from start to finish. An absolute must.
She aces the tightrope walk of songbook reverence and jazz-vocal breeziness that often proves elusive on such an album.
—New York Times