Even those casually familiar with vocalist and pianist Karrin Allyson’s 26-year recording career surely appreciate her tremendous versatility, exploring everything from French chansons to Brazilian jazz, from blues to pop, from Coltrane to Rodgers and Hammerstein with unerring panache. With Some of That Sunshine, Allyson unleashes her equally impressive dexterity as a songwriter. Sharing keyboard duties with Miro Sprague and Chris Caswell (also the disc’s producer), alongside bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Jerome Jennings, she fills the album with 13 finely crafted originals that variously suggest the spiritedness of Carole King, the perspicacity of Paul Simon, the warmth of Irving Berlin, and the bite of Bob Dorough or Dave Frishberg.
Allyson and company travel a serpentine route, venturing from the philosophical optimism of the title track, featuring violinist Regina Carter, to the funkified heartbreak of “Wish You Were Mine,” gentle caress of “As Long As I Know You Love Me,” and, with its softly powerful examination of a long-term relationship’s splintering, the sorrowfully reflective “Happy Now.” Saxophonist Houston Person steps in to help define the romantic disillusion of “Just as Well” and the love-the-one-you’re-with verve of “Right Here, Right Now.” Bass legend Lee Sklar drives the darkly disenchanted “One of These Days.” Allyson adds dual perspectives on social change, first with “Shake It Up,” a rousing ode to stepping forward and, with Carter, the closing “Big Discount” a stirring rallying cry that encompasses pay equity, shattering glass ceilings, and the #MeToo movement.
Jazz Times Review – Editor’s Pick
FOUR-STAR DOWNBEAT REVIEW/EXPANSIVE INTERVIEW IN M MUSIC & MUSICIANS MAGAZINE, AS FIVE-TIME GRAMMY NOMINEE KARRIN ALLYSON CELEBRATES RELEASE OF NEW ALBUM OF ORIGINAL MUSIC, “SOME OF THAT SUNSHINE” Jazz Times, Jazziz, M Mag Run Exclusive Song Premieres U.S. Tour Extended
DownBeat Magazine – ****Four-star album review By Bob Doerschuk, 9/18 print edition:
There are so many ways to savor Karrin Allyson’s artistry. Start with her voice, its rare clarity and resonant timbre. She phrases impeccably, staying close to the melody, except on the occasional scat chorus. Everything she sings seems to rise from a smile. The flip side is that , more than most of peers, she shies away from any blues influence. Here and there she’ll adorn the melody with a flat-third filigree, though more as a sprinkle of spice than a fundament of her style. These qualities make every moment on Some Of That Sunshine unmistakably Allyson. As does her writing. Each track is concise, built on an unvarying verse/chorus/bridge structure, her band providing perfect support. The solos are not about stretching out; their purpose is to frame the lyric and bring ou the luster in Allyson’s performance. Houston Person does this by complementing her nearly transparent purity with his smoky tenor on “Just As Well.” In contrast, violinist Regina Carter mirrors Allyson’s playful feel on the title cut by plucking the first verse of her solo. Allyson keeps this same focus through the last two songs on the album. From its first few notes, “You Don’t Care” surprises with its old-school country vibe and compositional simplicity. It’s easy to imagine it being played on the Grand Ole Opry stage- not today, but maybe 50 years ago. And the #metoo message of “Big Discount” couldn’t be more timely, though even here Allyson maintains her tuneful vibe.
JAZZ TIMES EXCLUSIVELY PREMIERED THE SONG “JUST AS WELL” Listen to it here:
On her new album, Some of That Sunshine, to be released by her own label Kasrecords on Aug. 3, singer Karrin Allyson unveils a skill that many of her listeners may believe is new for her: songwriting. But it turns out that she was already engaged in tunesmithery well before the release of her debut album in 1992—she’s just never presented her work to the public in this way before. “As a young musician I was writing songs in a variety of styles,” Allyson says, “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.” JazzTimes is pleased to premiere one of Some of That Sunshine’s 13 original tracks, “Just as Well,” which shows that Allyson is as talented at writing a classic-sounding ballad as she is at vocally delivering one.
M Music & Musicians Magazine – Expansive Interview with the Publisher, plus Exclusive Song Premiere of ‘Nobody Said Love Was Easy’. By Merlin David, 8/2018 Read the full feature and listen to the song, here:
JAZZIZ EXCLUSIVELY PREMIERED “SHAKE IT UP” Listen to it here:
New York City Jazz Record:
Five-time Grammy nominee Karrin Allyson, best known for her husky voice and versatility as a singer, has released her first album of originals, Some Of That Sunshine (Kasrecords). Allyson the songwriter, true to form, moves blithely from one feel to another, be it a blues (“Nobody Said Love Was Easy”), a swing (“Some Of That Sunshine”), or a pop tune (“As Long As I Know You Love Me”). A welcome next step for this enticing musician.
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