Karrin is a long time favorite of Seasons audiences with a voice that ranges from silky to smoky and a delightful stage presence. On Almost Midsummer’s Eve, hear her live at The Seasons in our Smiles of a Summer Night series. Her new album “Some of the Sunshine” is all original tunes and her reviews have been raves.
KARRIN ALLYSON BIO
“There are so many ways to savor Karrin Allyson’s artistry. Start with her voice, its rare clarity and resonant timbre....Everything she sings seems to rise from a smile." - Bob Doerschuk, DownBeat Magazine
Karrin Allyson, 5-time Grammy nominated jazz vocalist, pianist, and songwriter is widely recognized as one of the most gifted voices of her generation. With fifteen albums under her belt, she has built a mastery of The Great American Songbook, blues, pop, be-bop, Brazilian, and French chansons, to name a few.
Allyson rose to prominence in the ‘90s, releasing a string of albums including her debut I Didn’t Know About You in 1992. The album earned such accolades as being name-checked in Playboy's annual readers' poll alongside such greats as Ella Fitzgerald and Shirley Horn. Subsequently, Allyson assembled a fine backing band consisting of fellow Kansas City musicians including pianist Paul Smith, guitarists Danny Embrey and Rod Fleeman, bassists Bob Bowman and Gerald Spaits, and drummer Todd Strait, along with Minneapolis-based pianist Laura Caviani, all of whom have played on many of her recordings.
Allyson continued issuing albums at a steady pace, picking up Best Jazz Vocal Album Grammy nominations for 2001's Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane, 2006’s Footprints, 2007’s Imagina: Songs of Brasil, 2011's 'Round Midnight, and 2015’s Many a New Day: Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Born in Great Bend, Kansas, Allyson now lives in New York City, after growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, attending high school in the Bay Area, earning her bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and spending time in both Kansas City and Minneapolis before making the move in 2000. Since moving to New York, Allyson’s band has consisted of such players as Bruce Barth, Ed Howard, James Williams, Adam Cruz, Steve Wilson, Miro Sprague, Jerome Jennings, and Jeff Johnson. Also an accomplished vocal instructor, Allyson travels the world teaching, touring, and playing the major jazz festivals, concert venues, and clubs of the U.S. and overseas.
Allyson’s impressive discography culminated last year with the release of Some of that Sunshine, her first collection of all-original tracks and a further testament to her already impressive creative output. As Christopher Loudon writes in Jazz Times, “With Some of That Sunshine, Allyson unleashes her equally impressive dexterity as a songwriter.” Allyson is accompanied on the record by Miro Sprague on keyboard, Chris Caswell, who also serves as producer and co-writer on many of the tracks), bassist Jeff Johnson, guitarist Rod Fleeman, and drummer Jerome Jennings, with special guests Regina Carter and Houston Person. The record includes tracks that touch on social change and romantic disillusion while maintaining a joyous, bittersweet optimism. Throughout her other recordings, she has always been intrinsically involved in the arrangements, creating them all for Many a New Day, among others. With Some of that Sunshine Allyson comes full circle.
With fifteen albums released so far, and always more exciting projects in the works, Allyson’s range and creativity seems to have no bounds. What unites this wide world of music is Allyson’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.
EDITOR’S PICK – JAZZ TIMES – Christopher Loudon, 9/20 print/digital edition:
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.