Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Karrin Allyson - July through December 2009

Hi and thanks for checking in...
The end of the summer seemed like it would be less busy, but it wasn't - mostly with good things.
July 27 - Had a birthday party in NYC :) and many good friends showed up. It was a blast!
South Pacific - saw and heard our friend Loretta Ables who plays "Bloody Mary" - a great production! (I played 'Nellie' in that musical in high school! so, it brought back a lot of memories.)
August: Sea Isle New Jersey with family and Cape May. Heard & sat in with George Mesterhazy at one of our favorite places: the Merion Inn. Go there when you're in the area! Took the ferry to Lewes, Delaware - lovely. Ate some delicious crab.
Haagsund, Norway festival with Rod, Larry Kohut and Tim Horner. It was a nice festival and reminded us the North Sea festival - there was so much going on. Beautiful place!
NYC - Shakespeare on the Park with our friends . . . a beautiful evening and what a way to spend it.
NYC Bemelman's Bar- heard the wonderful pianist Bob Albanese with wonderful trio (see pics soon on photo gallery)
September: With Marian McPartland at Dizzy's for a very special performance. It's a wonderful experience to play with Ms. Marion - always.
Western Illinois University with Rod, Larry Kohut & drummer Eric Montzka - great trio!
Kansas City Symphony Ball under the direction of Michael Stern with Rod, Eric, Gerald Spaits and pianist Roger Wilder. What a treat it was to play with the symphony.
Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA with Rod and the wonderful piano trio.
Williams College in Williamstown, MA - a beautiful town and route to get there at this time of year especially... Andy Jaffee runs a very good jazz program there.
The Iron Horse in North Hampton, MA - this is a great sounding room with a wonderful crowd.
We played at Dizzy's in Lincoln Center for a week as part of the Women in Jazz Festival. The band was Rod, Lewis Nash, Peter Washington (and Cameron Brown too! :). It’s always an honor and treat to play at Dizzy's.
October: Lots of family visiting. In Omaha, NE at the Holland Center was a fundraiser for piano department at UNO (my alma mater). I also sang with the UNO Big Band. Then a special event in Clinton MO with Rod and Gerald at a beautiful little church and wonderful crowd. Also saw lots of friends in KC.
Sheila Jordan and I did a really cool concert in East Hampton, MA. It was a benefit for music and arts in the schools. We had Bruce Barth on piano, who valiantly just made it in due to flight troubles. He arrived at 6:59 PM, the concert started at 7:00 PM ! Also on the gig were baritone sax player Gary Sumulyan and bassist Dave Wertman. It was a really special night singing with Ms Sheila and these wonderful players for such a worthy cause.
One more thing - if you hear a Chase Bank commercial on TV that you think might sound like me - it probably is!
November: Winnipeg for the Izzy Asper Series - our 3rd time back there. Wonderful students at their jazz school there and always a great crowd.
JAZZ CRUISE: This line up was amazing and what an experience to be surrounded by all these great players in such a beautiful environment. I even got to ride a horse in the SEA....on a sweet little island "Half Moon Cay" in the Bahamas . . . so did Ann Hampton Callaway and of course we had a great time sitting in with each other.
Have a good holiday season, thank you for coming out to hear us.
The performances at Temple University were a gas!
I especially liked working w the students in the masterclass and doing a couple private lessons. I'm inspired by the interaction between Terell Stafford and the students and the positive energy is palpable! As well as the level of playing & singing. Bruce Barth showed up for the concert (he's the jazz piano guru there) and sax teacher Dick Oates, along w Dean Stroker and the president of Temple herself.
it was truly an honor to receive the jazz masters award (first woman!) and to get to play with these wonderful young musicians.
I ended November with a Master’s Class at the Boyer College of Music and Dance, Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Then kicked off December with a concert there with the Temple University Big Band, Terell Stafford conducting.
The performances at temple were a gas!
I especially liked working with the students in the Master’s Class and doing a couple private lessons. I'm inspired by the interaction between Terell Stafford and the students and the positive energy is palpable! As well as the level of playing & singing. Bruce Barth showed up for the concert (he's the jazz piano guru there) along with sax teacher Dick Oates, and with Dean Stroker and the President of Temple Dr. Ann Weaver Hart.
I was highly honored at this concert when I received their “Jazz Masters Hall of Fame Award.” Past recipients include Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Joe Wilder and Jon Faddis. I was the first women to receive this distinction!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dizzy’s, Birdland, SF to Seattle, ASCAP Awards, KC to Chicago, Jazz Camps, ‘Best Of’ CD Release . . .

Karrin's Road Words - August 2009
After our European tour it was good to get some time off in NYC and Massachusetts while back. It didn’t last long! I was a part of Marian McPartland's 30th anniversary of Piano Jazz at Dizzy's. Lots of wonderful jazz luminaries were there to perform and what a treat to hear them all. Marian and I played two of her originals: Twilight World and There'll Be Other Times. It’s always an honor and inspiration to just be around her.

Then a 'quick trip' to the Czech Republic and Hungary for just 3 performances, all great venues and wonderful crowds. I had never been there before and hope to go back.

A week in Birdland - yeh! When you travel so much, it's a luxury to perform in your 'own town' - NYC! Especially when it's at Birdland for a week and then again at Dizzy's - two of the most historic and friendly clubs in the world. Performing with the Temple University Big Band at Dizzy's was a blast! Singing with big bands is a whole other world - and usually a treat, especially with Terell Stafford leading the way and great 'kids' (!) playing so well in the band. Great to meet some of the alumni of Temple too that evening.

Next, we went back to the west coast and a few of our favorite jazz venues. First, Yakima Washington at the Season's. Pat Strosahl and his family have created a wonderful series there and jazz writer/critic Doug Ramsey emcees the events which is a big plus. Wonderful folks there.

Then to San Francisco for the SF Jazz Festival. Our venue was the amazing Legion of Honor Theatre - what grounds! A view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge and GG Park - what a magical city. My sister, Tracy joined me there and we also were very happy tourists for a few days, staying with wonderful friends in "THE CITY".

Jazz Alley in Seattle followed - always a great week there with lots of friends stopping in. My Mom often joins me while there, which is always a great and special time, also with Uncle Dave! Rod and I played a live session at KPLU-FM, one of the best stations around, of course! Off to Southern California to beautiful La Jolla at the Antheneum. It’s a great theatre, and loved playing there with Joe LaBarbera, Tom Warrington and Larry Koonse.

Then off to LA for Catalina's. We saw many great friends there too. We always try to get some hiking in too while there. LA is not just city (although it often seems that way). Beautiful to get 'out' of the city and to the sea whenever possible.

In June, we found ourselves back in Switzerland, this time in St. Moritz for a private concert for the tennis star, Boris Becker's wedding. After arriving in Zurich, we drove about 3 hours to St Moritz and stayed at the most beautiful resort there. Really enjoyed being a part of this very special occasion.

Back to the US and to be a part of the ASCAP award ceremony in NYC at the Allen Room. I was asked to perform a Johnny Mandel song in his honor. Chris Caswell and I performed his tune "Little Did I Dream" (lyrics by Dave Frishberg). It was daunting to perform in front of so many of your idols (Johnny himself, Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, Randy Weston to name a few)! But also to be able to HEAR THEM was a thrill, among many others that great evening. Look soon for some photos in our photo gallery.

Off to favorite jazz spots in the midwest. First, to Kansas City and Jardine's Jazz Club. This little club is becoming a great room for national artists due to the hard work of owner Beena and the great staff there. Sold out crowds and amazing energy, great friends there.

Omaha was next where we did a fund raiser for Hospice House and Ted E. Bear Hollow - two great causes. My Grandmother was in Hospice Care and there aren't words to describe what a comfort that was for her and her family. We performed at the Joslyn Art Museum in the theatre. As a child growing up in Omaha I went there often to hear performances such as Vladimir Horowitz! And have done performances there that we remember fondly as well. We raised about $35,000 that evening.

While in Omaha I played in my father's church (Augustana) for his 30-year anniversary of being an ordained Lutheran pastor. I grew up playing in that church. My sister Elisa was there also with two of her daughters, we had a great and special time. Which CONTINUED in Minneapolis (another home town for me!) at the Dakota. Bassist Larry Kohut joined Rod and me for 2 nights of fun music there to great crowds. Then onto Chicago at the Green Mill. It’s always an energetic crowd there and wonderful to play in that historic club. Drummer Eric Montzka joined Larry, Rod and me and sounded great.

Heading back East, I was honored to be part of the Interplay Jazz Camp in beautiful Woodstock Vermont - a great faculty. SHEILA JORDAN (we became FAST FRIENDS) and I performed and taught together. What an inspiration she is! Met so many great folks there. Of course we were very proud of the students at the concert. They worked really hard (and so did we! :)) And it rained like crazy almost the whole time!

Our new CD "By Request: The Best of Karrin Allyson" was released during this time (yes, the site is updated now!) Check it out! It represents several phases or 'snap shots' of my/our music making for the last 10-15 years with a varied repertoire and players along the way.

Then, some time OFF - in Massachusetts, loved it.

Back to California in Los Gatos for a fun outdoor concert - what a beautiful place that is! Then to Denver at the Soiled Dove, an intimate music club with a great staff and lovely crowd.

I was able to go on some great hikes with my friend Beth and visited beautiful Boulder. The mountains blew me away! Even more so when I got to Bailey Colorado for the Rocky Mountain Vocal Jazz Camp - what a great camp this is. The students were great and I again met and played with some great players/faculty (and had even more great hikes while there)

Until next time, I thank you for checking in - and wish you happiness, peace and great music.


Heard Out and About . . .
I went to violinist great, Mark O'Connor's fiddle camp concert at the Ethical Cultural Society in NYC with our good friend Blanche Williams (Widow of the late Claude “Fiddler” Williams) - heard some wonderful music.

Heard Ingrid Jensen's band in the Czech Repubic at the same festival we played. Mostly original, great tunes!

Heard vibraphonist Joe Locke's band at Dizzy's ... with great singer Kenny Washington--lovely!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Italy, Switzerland, New Recording News, and More . . .

Karrin’s Road Words - March 2009

Hello and thank you for checking in. At the start of the year I was summoned for jury duty here in NYC, something I could no longer put off. It lasted for two weeks! It was really very interesting and I enjoyed my fellow jurors.
Then, the inauguration of President Obama!! A friend kindly invited me to join her to see this at the Apollo Theatre here in Harlem NY. That was exciting to say the least. And what about Aretha's hat? I also loved Yo Yo Ma's quartet performance. They all deserve medals for playing in that cold! I was glued to the television for the rest of that momentous day.

Then to Colorado for two performances: Telluride and Montrose. The folks were great to us and what a beautiful area. (No invitation from Calvin Klein to visit his ranch though - ha!)

I had some welcome time with my family in between that and going to the Grammy's in LA. The Grammy’s was as usual, an exciting event. We stayed at the Biltmore and hung out with good friends. Big congratulations to Cassandra Wilson! I have always admired her work as well as the other lovely nominees. Also big congratulations to Charles Bruffy - Kansas City Chorale conductor and his groups!

I got to attend a classical concert in Bloomington Indiana with Bill McG, who conducted a wonderful program, including one of his compositions. What a wonderful Valentine's gift.

We then left for Europe, a one week tour in Italy and the rest in Bern, Switzerland.
Among the fond memories there: Driving along the west coast down to Sicily, taking the ferry over - such a beautiful country.

One night, we had a heated, late night foozball tournament with the owner in a hotel where we were the only guests. We also had to check ourselves out in the morning because there was no one to be found! (We think we kept him up too late) We, of course, ate wonderful meals there, even on the road, driving. One can eat like royalty in Italy! Their 'truck stops' are stocked with wine, hams, cheese, olives to purchase along the way as well as wonderful freshly prepared food. What a concept!

The audiences were lovely to us. We took a train through the Alps from Italy to Switzerland. Unfortunately it was dark! We passed the time by playing Mad Libs. Needless to say by the end of that week the band (not me :) got pretty 'creative' with those.

Marian's club in Bern was welcome, especially to stay in one place for a week. It’s a sweet and intimate club on a 'hill' surrounded by the Alps. The audiences were wonderful to us there, as were the staff.

Our latest CD due out in early summer is a "Best of Karrin Allyson" project. We've been busy choosing material and sequencing it and getting the artwork ready. Since we have 11 cd's out there, there was a lot to choose from. But it’s fun to go back and listen. Of course I have very fond memories of making those CD's with all of those wonderful players. It's a project I've been wanting to do for awhile. We will probably go into the studio again later in the summer for the next 'new thing.'

Also heard some great music out & about: Joe Locke's band at Dizzy's with singer Kenny Washington - what a wonderful night of music. And another great night of music with Ann Hampton Callaway at Dizzy's with her wonderful band. I was invited to sit in - she and have a great time singing together. The Camerata Orchestra in Bloomington with fabulous pianist Chris O'Reilly and Bill McGlaughlin conducting. The pianist, Mike Longo at Small's. Also am reading a book called "On This Day" by Nathaniel Bellows, a new acquaintance I met in the amazing Ms Phoebe's Pilates class.

Meanwhile, Spring has finally knocked on the door here in NYC. I am more than ready to let her in! I look forward to seeing you all soon out there somewhere. I hope these times are finding you mostly filled with hope and as much joy as possible.
Thanks for checking in.