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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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KARRIN ALLYSON

Footprints

Concord Jazz 0013431229124

 

 

 

1. Something Worth Waiting For
2. All You Need to Say
3. Lightning
4. A Long Way to Go
5. Strollin’
6. I Found the Turnaround
7. Follow the Footprints
8. Life is a Groove
9. A Tree and Me
10. I Can’t Say
11. But I Was Cool
12. Give Me a Break
13. Everybody’s Boppin’

Karrin Allyson – Vocals, piano and shaker
Jon Hendricks – Vocals and whistle solo
Nancy King – Vocals
Bruce Barth – Piano and Fender Rhodes
Peter Washington – Bass
Todd Strait – Drums
Frank Wess – Tenor sax and flute
Nick Phillips - Trumpet

Karrin Allyson is one of my favourite singers but she’s less well known than she deserves to be. This American vocalist can handle any song with assurance, singing perfectly in tune and enunciating the lyrics clearly. Her voice has a specially attractive quality, with a mellow tone and an occasional hoarseness which the sleeve-note compares to her namesake June Allyson but which could also be described as the singing equivalent of British actress Joan Greenwood.

 

Most of the songs on this new album are jazz tunes given new lyrics by songwriter Chris Caswell or (in track 8) by Karrin Allyson herself. Instrumentals by such jazz luminaries as Nat Adderley and John Coltrane are given a makeover by the addition of lyrics. This process usually results in vocalese, which adds lyrics to a jazz solo. However, most of the numbers here add lyrics to the song itself, not to an improvised solo, thus avoiding the patter-song effect of much vocalese. For example, Dizzy Gillespie’s Con Alma is transformed into a ballad called Something Worth Waiting For, delivered tenderly by Karrin. Duke Jordan’s Jordu becomes a groovy swinger called Life is a Groove, on which Karrin is joined in harmony by Nancy King, a vocalist from Portland.

 

Other special guests include the legendary singer Jon Hendricks, and saxist Frank Wess, who adds serpentine tenor solos to a couple of tunes. Two songs – A Tree and Me and But I Was Cool – were supposed to feature their composer, Oscar Brown Jr., but he sadly died before the album was recorded, so Karrin sings them in tribute. Her version of But I Was Cool is less raucous than Brown’s original but Karrin effectively conveys coolness in the face of adversity.

 

You haven’t heard of Karrin Allyson before? Then it’s about time you did.

 

Tony Augarde



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