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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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KARRIN ALLYSON

Many a New Day

Motema 234083

 

 

1. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning

2. Many A New Day

3. Happy Talk

4. I Cain't Say No

5. I Have Dreamed

6. Out Of My Dreams

7. Bali H'ai

8. When I Think Of Tom/Hello Young Lovers

9. We Kiss In A Shadow

10. You've Got To Be Carefully Taught

11. Something Wonderful

12. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top

13. Something Good

14. Edelweiss


Karrin Allyson – Vocals, piano

Kenny Barron – Piano (tracks 1-13)

John Patitucci – Upright bass (tracks 1-13)


Karrin Allyson had several advantages when tackling the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Ella Fitzgerald sang the Rodgers & Hart Songbook but she didn’t deal with Rodgers & Hammerstein (except for the occasional song here and there). It might have been a challenge if Ella had had a go, although Karrin is one of the few singers who can compete with the divine Ella.

Karrin also has the advantage of a particular timbre in her voice: sweet and attractive (somebody called it “feline”), which makes every interpretation readily likable. Karrin’s other advantage is an ability to deliver songs with particular skill and intelligence, which makes every version unique. Her phrasing is a cause for wonderment.

Allyson only tries songs from four of R & H’s wondrous musicals: five from Oklahoma!; four from The King and I; three from South Pacific; and two from The Sound of Music. There’s an extra one (This Nearly Was Mine) which is somehow only available to iTunes users, tacked on at the end of the album. I shan’t review it as it isn’t open to everybody.

Alysson makes every song her own. For example, in I Cain’t Say No, Karrin (born in Kansas) starts the song with a mid-Western tinge in her voice to portray a vulnerable woman who “cain’t say no”. But she goes into full jazz mode for the body of the song. In fact jazz is a style that appears rather too infrequently on this CD, as most of the songs are ballads: slow and emotional but without much beat. Still, there are plenty of rewards, like the delicate ending of Hello Young Lovers, where Karrin’s voice gently fades into the distance. Or the poignant interpretation of We Kiss In A Shadow

Besides the rich song interpretations, one bonus of this album is that it should remind the listener of the magic of Richard Rodgers’ music – and especially Oscar Hammerstein’s lyrics. As Allyson says in her sleeve-notes, the lyrics are “tremendously romantic” but they are also rewardingly literate and observant. Note, for example, the echo in the lines “A kiss gone by is bygone” and “Behold how my lover loves me”. Hammerstein could also inject touches of sly wit, as in “You and me is lucky to be us”. Or there are the stunningly direct lyrics of You’ve Got To Be Taught” demolishing the legitimacy of prejudice. Kenny Barron’s piano solo here is just right.

Barron and Patitucci supply subtle accompaniments throughout the album. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top cleverly modulates upwards in the midst of the lyrics – a difficult feat for singer and accompanists, but accomplished seamlessly. The duo’s restrained backing underlines the romance of many songs, although it is another reason why there is less jazz on this album than on some of Karrin’s other recordings. She provides her own piano accompaniment for Edelweiss.

Not much jazz but no regrets.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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