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Karrin Allyson

Karrin Allyson

Karrin Allyson & Todd Strait

Karrin Allyson & Peg Delaney

photos by Rudy Lu, Al Brooks & Eric Jenks

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A Place For Jazz
Schenectady, NY
November 7, 2008

by Tom Pierce

Since I'm preparing to leave soon for Ft Lauderdale to sail tomorrow on the Jazz Cruise, which also has some strong vocalists, I unfortunately don't have time to do the type of in depth review her excellent concert deserves, I wanted to say a few things about a super performance by Karrin Allyson (on vocals and piano), and an exciting and sensitive band of Dave Stryker on guitar, John Lockwood on bass and Todd Strait (who's played with her for 18 years) on drums on Friday November 7, 2008.

The packed house (our largest attendance in several years) at the excellent venue of our Jazz Society was revved up and fully into the performance from the opening song of the first set (Jobim's "Felicidade"). Many of the tunes were from her latest CD, "Imagina - Songs From Brazil"; but there were others from her classic 2001 "Ballads" CD, as well as "Footprints", "In Blue", "I Didn't Know About You" (her first in 1992) and possibly 1 or 2 others I missed.

Picking highlights in a evening where the audience responded very strongly to every one of the 16 songs performed over two sets would be very difficult. But I'm especially appreciative she included three particular songs that I had mentioned as personal favorites when I talked with her previously that afternoon, at a marvelous Jazz vocal Master Class she gave at Union College for 4 fine professional vocalists from this area. The songs were the hauntingly soulful "I Wish I Knew" and "Say It (Over and Over Again)" from the "Ballads" CD; and a spirited and uplifting "Never Say Yes" from "Footprints".

As most of you already know, she's an extraordinarily impressive vocalist in the way she comfortably (and in her own truly distinctive delivery) handles all the major types of songs - Ballads, Blues, Bossas, Be-bop, French classics and jazz interpretations of the better contemporary Pop songwriters. She connected especially well rhythmically with the band last night, as evidenced by the responsive body language of so many in the audience.
A Place For Jazz has presented many exceptional vocalists through the years, including: Sheila Jordan (1990), Etta Jones (1994), Madeline Eastman (1995), Dena DeRose (1999), Rebecca Parris (2001), Rene Marie (2002), Patti Wicks (2003), Roseanna Vitro (2005), Giacomo Gates (2006) and Mark Murphy (2007). Karrin Allyson more than held her own in this wonderful tradition.

Tom Pierce has had a burning passion for Jazz for over 45 years, initiated and fueled by seeing live in New York City, starting in the early 1960's, virtually every major artist still performing. He's been very happily living in Guilderland the last 5 years, as an active retiree sharing his love of music by writing online reviews for a number of web sites, preparing DVD presentations to various groups, co-Hosting Radio programs showcasing his favorite artists and busily supporting A Place for Jazz and the SwingTime Society in a variety of ways.