Friday, December 3, 2010

RoadWords from Karrin - December 2010

I can't believe it's been so long since I've written! Could it really be since June? I guess I was busy!

Our Denver Festival gig was the gig that 'almost wasn't' ... as there was big weather - tornadoes and lots of rain. Our bassist and drummer, Larry Kohut and Eric Montzka had to divert into Colorado Springs and rent a car to get there. Then the gig was at a very cool (OUT DOOR!) venue with rain, rain, rain! But the show went on and many hearty listeners were there. I also had food poisoning (!) but again, the show goes on! Many other fun acts were there including Ray Vega - always love him. And thanks to Susan Gatchet at KUVO.

On to the Southwest, where we enjoyed some outdoors before doing a fundraiser for the Santa Fe Center for the Arts. We stayed with our good friends Karen and Spencer who also helped host the event. Rod and Bill and I put on a 'moonlight' themed show.

Left VERY early next morning for Vermont. Ms. Sheila Jordan actually drove ME from the airport to Interplay Workshop in Woodstock (thank you Sheila). As usual, we had a great visit. The camp went very well and it's always good to see some familiar faces (and voices) as well as the new students. I loved Sheila's and Gene Bertoncini's concert together.

Next, the Northwest to Seattle's Jazz Alley for the weekend with Rod, Jeff Johnson and Mark Ivester. This is always one of our favorite places to play.

The next day we moved on to Portland, OR to play the Cathedral Jazz Festival. What a great setting! I got to play with Nancy King, Steve Christofferson, Dan Balmer, Scott Steed and Todd Strait. Mark Murphy came and sat in. What an absolute treat to sing with two of my all time favorites. Also got to see some of the amazing Oregon coast line - unbelievably beautiful!

At the end of July we went to New Orleans for our “oil spill” fundraiser at One Eyed Jacks. We raised at least $5000.00 and then some for wetlands and fisherman (and families). Cindy Scott did an amazing job at putting it all together-- and Michael Simarjiza helped so much with getting the word out. (And of course, we ate really well while there!)

I visited some family in Omaha before going back to NYC. Next, to Marblehead MA. Gene Arnould does a lovely series there and we're happy to be a part of it.

On to Minneapolis at the Dakota where Rod, Larry Kohut and I had a lovely two nights there. Laura Caviani sat in and we had wonderful crowds.

Back to NYC for a quick rehearsal (in my apartment!) for our next project with Rod, Ed Howard, Matt Wilson and guests Bob Sheppard and Randy Weinstein. We recorded at Sear Sound in NYC, our favorite NYC studio. Two days only - whew! But I'm excited about this project - more on that later.
We played at Jazz at Lincoln Center for fashion week. The line up was Bruce Barth, Lewis Nash, Ed Howard and myself. What a great band!

Then we headed to Kansas City for the Prairie Village Jazz Festival. I sang a few tunes with the KC Jazz Orchestra which was great fun. Eldar was on the bill and he sounds great as usual.

Back home in NYC for a few days, then back to KC area, for Boonville, MO performance in their very cool venue and "Hotel Frederick." Parris Johnson did a great job putting it all together. And the Topeka KS Jazz Workshop was a wonderful afternoon and a huge turn out. Our friend Chuck Berg was there front and center. It was great to see him. Marcy did a great job of organizing this concert too. Dave Overmeyer put on a wonderful after party at his house. A beautiful soul - Dave! Frisbee and fishing down on his pond at sunset with all that wonderful food and freinds - a great way to celebrate Gerald Spait's birthday!

Back to NYC it was Dizzy's at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Sheila Jordan, Bruce Barth, Cameron Brown and Billy Drummond. We had a very special week there together and I got to bring my Mom (Chrystopher) there for all of it. We also saw a great exhibit at the Met.

Scullers in Boston was the next stop. We always love to play there but this time, it was in the dark! There was a black out in that part of the city, so the whole hotel and club were dark. It happened just after soundcheck. Ed got stuck in an elevator for a minute and we all walked up 16 flights to our rooms. Bill held a flash light in the bath room for me to put a little make up on We played by candle light for the first sold out set; then, the lights came back on. It was almost too bad about that. When you find a 'vibe' that works :) it was a shame to change it. Also I was quite sick with the flu, but the show went on! And all seemed happy.

Back for my little Northampton, MA series, this time featuring Rod Fleeman and Gene Bertoncini, two special guitarists. It’s great fun to hear them together and to sing with them. We had a lovely if small group listening.

Then a break from the live performance scene to mix the next project in LA. We mixed at the famed "Village Recording Studios" - a beautiful, old studio where tons of gold records are hung on the walls. Thank you to Nick and Seth and Bill for your TLC and expertise!

Back to Minneapolis where I was a part of a fundraiser for KBEM with Laura Caviani, Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey. It was a great band and we had a wonderful time playing together. My Mom and sister Elisa attended as well and the food and wine were lovely.

To the Bay Area: Yoshi's in San Francisco - a great crowd and we love the venue. Singer Kenny Washington sat in with us (LOVE him). My sister Tracy met me and we had a lovely couple days there with friends Susan and Nancy in that beautiful city.

Next stop: Tempe, AZ to sing with the Arizona State University Big Band. Woody Wilson does a fantastic job with this series and the hall is state of the Art. The band played with soul and swing. Also enjoyed trumpet player Scott Wilson who shared the bill.

Europe: This was quite a nice trip, starting out in Salzburg - Mozart's home town, for the festival there. What a beautiful place of course - legendary! We played in a very old (1400s) building in their “brewery.” It could scare one initiially, except this was no regular brewery. It was a concert venue (with great beer!).

Then, Minden, Germany in their very cool little club, which is run by a committee - a jazz committee! They do a great job and we enjoyed being there. They were already getting ready for Christmas there.

Next was Hoorn, but first our host, Henk, took us into Amsterdam for a couple hours as that's all the time we had, but fun to see. The venue in Hoorn was completely charming, like playing in your living room with warm, attentive folks there, an upright piano that worked well for us as it was very intimate! Truly a joy being with those lovely people.

In Stockholm next for my first time. Beautiful city - unfortunately very little time there! But I've heard about the Fasching Club for years and I was happy to be there ... even though, un-believably, we experienced another black out! Our hotel went dark, so finding our ways down the dark steps to the lobby was a trick. Our host met us to warn that the show may not 'go on' in this case as there was no electricity there either. So, we went to dinner and waited, and sure enough, they were able to fix it, and we played. (That's the 3rd time in my whole life during a gig.) Once while in San Jose, CA, the whole state of California had a brown out and it happened to be during the festival. I would love to return to Stockholm someday soon.

We ended our little tour in Paris. It had been too long since I'd been there, so it was really great being back. And "Duc des Lombards" is a very cool club - almost like a small but 'tall' (high ceiling) theatre. The crowds were great and gave us many encores which we were happy to do. Rod and Ed played great through out the trip.

Great stuff I saw and heard:
- Bill McGlaughlin's NYC Bryant Park series with wonderful classical players like, Orion String Quartet, Imani Winds, Mark O'Connor (I sang Amazing Grace with them on memorial day in the rain.), Tara Helen O'Connor on flute.
- Renee Rosnes quintet at Dizzy's with Steve Nelson, Peter Washington, Rich Perry & Bill Stewart.
- Phil Woods quintet at Birdland with Bill Mays, Bill Goodwin and Brian Lynch.
- Beach, Blanket Babylon in San Francisco-- what a hoot.
- The Sunshine Boys in Kansas City starring our very talented friend Howard Hessman.
- At Paris' Marmotan Museum - lots of beautiful Monet!!
Also while in Paris, dined at Restaurante da Franco (delicious!) and had amazing pastry at Les Deux Magots. Bill and I simply walked around that beautiful city.

Please check our Facebook for comments and photos along the way - and thank you for checking in. We hope to have dates in your area soon and wish you a very happy, healthy Holiday Season.

With Love, Karrin

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

RoadWords from Karrin: June 2010

June 7, 2010

Hi folks -

First of all, it's been quite the few months with many small triumphs and several challenges. More below on all of that, but I want to THANK YOU for helping make what we do worthwhile. I have received so much good feedback and by YOU showing up to our performances and giving us the great energy you have, and for your feedback via facebook, fan page, website, personal interaction after/between shows. This is so much of what makes it worthwhile. Yes - we performers must 'put it out,' but we also have to (or at least I do!) have something to put BACK IN! So, thank you!

Here's some of a re-cap:

Among other things my mind has been on this catastrophic oil spill. It makes me sick to my stomach and angry and frustrated just like everyone else. Sometimes I don't know what to do about those feelings. Music helps.

My heart goes out to the folks who work and live there and to the ocean and wildlife that are suffering - we will all suffer for this.

Also I have several close friends who are going through some very hard health issues. That's also a helpless feeling and music helps that too.

I could write in these road notes that all is fine & dandy, when in fact, so much isn't in this world. As Mose Allison says in one of his tunes I've been doing lately: "This world is just one big trouble - spot, cause some have plenty and some have not...”
More & more I feel in choosing certain material to sing and play, it's cathartic and helps just a little to have meaning in all of the chaos around us.

So, onto the music . . .

I think I left off in April. We played in KC at the sweet little club, Jardine's, where we saw a ton of friends and had really good gigs. Then to Lincolnshire, Il. at a great high school where they invite many national acts to their auditorium. I played on a Rhodes piano which has re-kindled my love for that instrument. Couple of days back at home and then to the San Diego area - Oceanside CA. where I sang with the jazz choir there as well as doing our own thing with my band. Heard a wonderful educator speak about vocal health and tracking it through technology. Her name is Diana Spradling and her book is “Jazz Singing, Developing Artistrt and Authenticity.” Check it out! Also while there I got to hang with a great friend from Jr. High! So great to catch up with long-time friends.

Back in NYC, I played with the great guitarist Gene Bertoncini at the Women in Jazz concert at St Peter's Church. It was just the two of us and we had fun trying some new things out for some new folks.

Onto Asheville, NC to their wonderful series, where I did a masterclass for singer Sharon LaMotte's students - fun!

Our poor drummer Eric had 'all night flight issues' and barely made it - one of the perks of this vagabond life - not! But we had a great concert in that beautiful space. President and Michelle Obama had JUST been there, but alas - he had to leave before I got to lay eyes on them!

Back home for a few days, then to Catalina's in Hollywood. It was really good to be back there and see our friends and play with Rod Fleeman, Tom Warrington and Bob Sheppard. While there I took a hike in Grifith Park - that was lovely too.

Back on the east coast I went to hear Nancy King and Fred Hersch at the Jazz Standard. They were inspiring as always.(I get to sing with Nancy again in Portland in July.) Then to an 'all stars' concert just outside Boston at Showcase Live’ along with Jay Giles, Bucky Pizzarelli, Gerry Beaudoin, Harry Allen and the rhythm section. It was a varied and cool concert.

Our little series in Northampton was a blast! The Unitarian Church was an excellent venue for Rebecca Parris, Brad Hatfield and I to play. We had alot of fun with tunes, banter and making music together. Also thanks to Zack for sitting in! And also thanks to Tom Reney for helping get the good word out through radio! Great crowd and we look forward to the next time (maybe we won't choose graduation day next time however - parking is bad enough!)

Then back to NYC at Bryant Park to open up Bill McGlaughlin's new "After Work Classical and Jazz" concerts. Lewis Nash, Ed Howard, Rod and I had a great time, although, another airline snafoo put Rod in just 3 minutes before 'down beat' ... the show must go on and the weather was beautiful, thankfully. Lots of folks attending these, just as if it were a theater - but it's midtown Manhattan - outside! So, you can imagine the 'competition' with traffic, sirens, etc. Quite invigorating and host Bill McG never fails to engage the audience.

Birdland the following week was great - wonderful crowds all week long, and fun for me to add the Rhodes again to our show. Rod, Lewis, Ed and I didn't want the week to end really. And Birdland is truly one of the great clubs in the world.

Had a great week OFF after that - whew, that was alot in a row. Unfortunately for me, my iphone was stolen in a rather ugly incident. I'm only telling you this to be aware yourself and alert your loved ones, as it's no fun and costly. A 'kid' riding a bike on the side walk close to my home in NYC ripped it right from my hand while I was talking on It - along with a clump of hair. NO FUN! I have to say the NYC police were great. I didn't get it back of course, but they were & have been on it, and of course it could have been worse.

So, next on to Denver Festival, teaching gigs and camps in June and August, Portland OR, and more East Coast gigs in August and recording this summer as well.

Please log on often to the touring page as things are added. Also facebook blogs. We don't want to miss you!

Here are some things I've either heard, read, saw: The beautiful Picasso exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, attended a concert and tribute to Leonard Bernstein at the famous 'Lotus Club' in NYC, I got to hear the Orion String Quartet, Mark O'Connor Quartet (and I sang "Amazing Grace" with them!) and the Imani WInds all at Bryant Park-- beautiful!

Heard Johnny Mandel conduct the Diva Jazz Orchestra at Dizzy's and Ann HC sounded lovely as always.

Also heard two friends play (separately) at the Metropolitan Room in NYC: the lovely Sharon LaMotte and the wonderful Wesla Whitfield.

Misc news: My middle neice, Julia graduated from high school! My oldest niece, Sonya is traversing Europe and attending school in Spain. My neice, Sydney is in Honolulu attending school and working with kids after school; nephew Paul is tearing it up in track and band! (yeh!) oh - also 'classical greek' ! They are growing up.

Hope you have a good summer, can do good and meaningful things along the way, and that we get to see you out there sometime soon. Thank you for checking in.
Love, Karrin

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Road Words from Karrin Allyson

Karrin’s Road Words - April 2010

Dear Friends . . .
Hello and Happy Spring!

What a winter it was. . . I know we are all ready for this beautiful change.

I got lucky and was able to escape it for a little while by going to Honolulu and playing at the Academy of Arts. The music was lovely with Jim Howard on flute and piano too. The rest of the group included Bruce Hamada on bass, Rod Fleeman and myself. We love playing with those wonderful players.

While there I got to do some wonderful hikes and saw lots of whales and sea turtles. Kayaking - what can one say about Hawaii? And seeing my sister and niece is the big draw.

Back in New York (NYC) we heard some great music: Joe Locke with Kenny Washington, and his great band, complete with a full moon rising as the band started that night.

In February, I sang with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. I am enjoying singing with big bands more and more. I also, did a Masterclass with students there and they were inspiring.

More weather related stuff - we played in Lewisburg, PA at Bucknell University in their wonderful series. It was just before one of the biggest blizzards of the winter. We all left immediately after the gig and barely got out in time. Too bad because it's such a sweet little town!

Then, on Valentines Day in NYC, Bob Albanese invited me to sing with his band at Bemelman's Bar at the Carlylse Hotel. It was a lively evening! People seemed ready to party and the band happily accommodated.
I had never been inside the Dakota in NYC, so I jumped at the chance to attend a classical “house concert.” Beautiful!

Next was in Toronto for their series at the Old Mill for a great crowd in a wonderful venue. Then I headed for Los Angeles (LA) to attend a family wedding. While there I also met with Concord about our next project. We hope to record in the summer and release that album in the Spring of 2011. We'll be trying new material out on all the upcoming concerts.

LA had a lot of rain and it was wonderful to see the mountains and hills so green for a change! I was invited to participate in a fund raiser for Doctor's without Borders: "Ladies Got Chops" at a sweet Brooklyn arts center ("Clovers"). It was good to be a part of a great cause with lovely players.

While I was home I went to Birdland to hear one of our favorite drummers, Lewis Nash (who will be with me at Birdland in May). He's a great band leader and had Tom Harrell, Renee Rosnes, Peter Washington, and Javon Jackson that night. Wonderful music!

Lots of gig dates are coming in, almost daily. So keep an eye out and check my web site schedule frequently. We hope to be in YOUR area soon.

Coming up, we're looking forward to Kansas City; Lincolnshire, Ill; Oceanside, CA; and the Women in Jazz Festival in NYC at St Peter's (with Gene Bertoncini!) and on to Asheville, NC.

Then we go back to LA where we will be at Catalina's in May. Next is more NYC dates including Birdland and our Bryant Park concert as a guest of Bill McGlaughlin. Soon following is my own new little series in the Pioneer Valley, North Hampton, MA.

Remember to check the Tour Dates on the web site. We are adding lots of dates!

Happy Spring!