Jazz singer Karrin Allyson linked to Cafe Lena still does it for fun


Live concerts are back. But damage has been done to the lives and businesses of some people, and experts admit that cases of depression and associated mental disorders have increased dramatically in 2020. Music is one thing that helps calm people down in moments. difficult, and for many, the resumption of live music performances means a return to normalcy.

“It’s hard for me to put it into words. But I feel it when I play for people. I feel it when I am played. And it’s cathartic, ”said Karrin Allyson, a five-time Grammy-nominated jazz singer who will perform at the Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs on Thursday, November 11. “And it can be just plain fun. And it is also a liberation.

“There are songs that help you get through tough times,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many times I have heard from my listeners, ‘You have helped me through difficult times.’ So that makes me feel good. I even heard from a few surgeons that they played our music while they were operating. It’s weird. But music is a powerful healing force. We need this.

Allyson is one of the best jazz singers on the scene, performing with the greats and performing in all the big venues and festivals. She has performed twice at the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival – in 2014 as part of the Newport at 60 all-star band and in 2016 with her own group. This will be his first stop at Caffe Lena. She said she formed a trio especially for the privacy of the room, consisting of herself on the piano, guitarist Jason Ennis and bassist Marty Jaffe. The repertoire will include her own songs and melodies from other people she admires, including Bonnie Raitt and Mose Allison, as well as a few standards.

“It’s a pretty organic presentation, I would say. I depend on the reactions and enthusiasm of the audience or whatever, ”she said. Even requests are possible.

Allyson is from the Midwest and came to New York City about 20 years ago. By this time, she was already in the upper echelon of singers, known for her ability to convey lyrics with a beautiful tone and nuanced improvisations. She sings songs from many genres – pop, bossa nova, blues, rock – as long as the lyrics can be conveyed intelligently. She even sings in French. (She majored in classical piano and minor in French at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where she obtained a classical piano scholarship.)

She discovered jazz in college, but singer-songwriters from other genres are also big influences. Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Carole King and Raitt fall into this category. Rhythm and blues artists like Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke are also on his list. In the jazz world, she admires Dinah Washington, Carmen McRae and Louis Armstrong, among the singers, as well as pianists Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans. She was inspired by horn players like trumpeter Clifford Brown. “I paid tribute to John Coltrane (“ Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane ”, Concord Jazz, 2001). I love his spiritual strength, ”she said.

No matter what song she chooses, she comes out of jazz. She enjoys the freedom of the art form and the improvisation that it involves. “The fact that you don’t have to do it the same way every time. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t, “she said.” And the humor in it. I like the intelligence it contains. … And that you can have your own voice no matter what you play, ”she said.

Allyson spoke from her home in New York City just days after completing a tour of the Midwest. She was about to hit the road again, towards Los Angeles, the Bay Area in California then Seattle before hitting Saratoga. Then it’s off for dates in Massachusetts to end the year. At the start of next year, the iconic Birdland nightclub in the Big Apple is on its program.

During COVID, she took care of a radio show called B and K Cafe which she does with her partner of many years, Bill McGlaughlin. It airs once a month on WWFM in New Jersey. She was able to continue teaching and performing via the Internet. But like all artists on the scene, she is happy to be able to introduce her music to the public. Allyson is a road warrior.

“It’s really great… And it’s just great making music with other people,” she said.

RJ DeLuke is a frequent contributor to The Times Union.

Karrin allyson

When: Thursday November 11

Where, Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs.

Tickets: $ 45

More info: caffelena.org

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