Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Karrin's RoadWords - December 14, 2011

Greetings Friends!

2011 has been quite a year. First, thank you all for coming out and supporting our music! And I'm so honored to have been Grammy® nominated for the 4th time! "Round Midnight" is nominated for "Best Jazz Vocal Album" The big event happens in February. We'll keep you posted!

We left off last August. We were invited to play for the Aspen Jazz Festival. Needless to say, since I'm a hiker, I was able to take some time during that trip to hike around that amazing area. And it was a lovely crowd to play for too. Along with me were Rod, drummer Jill Frederickson and bassist Ian Hutchinson. Fun!

After that we were off to Seattle’s Jazz Alley. It’s a longtime favorite and this time was no exception. Along with Rod, Jeff Johnson and Mark Ivestor we enjoyed great crowds, friends and the staff at Jazz Alley. It was a wonderful week. It’s always a pleasure to see our friends at KPLU while in this area. We often do a live in-studio session with guests. Thank you Dick Stein and KPLU folks!

So on August 23rd, I'm sitting there on the lower east side of Manhattan getting my hair cut. Suddenly the things around us start moving and shaking. I grabbed John's arm. Not a good idea when he's holding scissors! I said, "Did you feel that? That felt almost like . . . an earthquake!" I remember feeling a couple of these while in California and Japan. You never forget 'that feeling' although at first we thought "Construction!" (It IS NYC after all!) As we all know now, that's exactly what it was, an earthquake.

Then, a few days later came Hurricane Irene. With a few days off in late summer we had headed to the Jersey Shore to see family. Bad timing! We were all evacuated the day after we got there. It was quite scary. (I had posted a few pictures on facebook of the eerie, deserted area just before the storms.) Luckily for that area, Irene didn't do much damage. In so many other areas in the northeast they are still dealing with it. Our hearts go out to them.

In September we went to Yakima, WA, a sweet city in the center of Washington state. The "Seasons Series" that Pat Strosahl and his staff put on is very impressive. From Pat Metheny, to classical music, salsa dance, to us! This time it was a teaching workshop and two concerts with Jeff Johnson, Todd Strait, Mark Seals, Warren Rand and me. Along with the adult students in the workshop (really fun!) we went around to public schools to hear the students, play for and with them. This is so important and very gratifying as well. And what a band! I loved playing with these musicians!

Later that month I was asked to perform for my alma mater (University of Nebraska at Omaha) in New York at a very cool event, in a lovely, private home in the Village. I asked Gene Bertoncini to join me and he sounded great as usual.

At the end of October, we headed to Europe. The first stop was Istanbul. This was the first time I really got to see any of this amazing city. We stayed there for four days. Bill went along with us. He’s a great tour guide! I also met some new friends who took us around and hosted us at their lovely home as well. (See pics on my facebook page)

Then to Athens for sadly, only ONE night (actually, 18 hours). The venue there was very impressive. It’s almost theatre in the round. About 400-500 people were there with a very warm and enthusiastic reception. We look forward to going back soon. We also took a couple hours to see the Parthenon! Wow!

The next morning, off to Paris! The Duc des Lombards is a sweet venue in Les Halles area. We had two nights there and loved it. Then we stayed there for three more nights as tourists which was great! We went to Chartres Cathedral, Musee D'Orsay, and just walked and walked in the beautiful city of Paris.

Next were two more one-nighters. The first was in Vienna. Thanks to Wolfgang and his family for their hospitality and new friends we met while there. Then onto Rotterdam at a beautiful new venue called Lantaren Venster. We were treated like royalty and we look forward to going back. Thank you Jeanne!

When we returned to NYC, we played The Jazz Standard. Along with Bruce Barth, Ed Howard and Matt Wilson, we enjoyed our week there. It’s a cool club with great food and crowds.

Summit New Jersey has a sweet venue in the Unitarian Church there. Ed Howard, guitarist Bob Mann and I had a great time. What an audience there!

Finally, we headed to Kansas City, at Jardine's. It’s always like going for me. I saw so many friends. Along with Rod, Gerald Spaits and Randy Weinstein we had a great couple nights. Thank you to the staff there as well. I also got to see lots of family in Minneapolis and Omaha while in the area for Thanksgiving.

Don’t forget that you still have plenty of time to purchase my albums for Christmas presents. Buy them directly from

I wish you all a very Happy Holiday season!! And I look forward to seeing you soon.
With Love,

Among some interesting things I heard, saw, read, or did:

- In Istanbul: an amazing museum called "RAHMI. M. KOÇ museum.”
- Musee D'Orsay and the Chartres Cathedral in Paris.
- The Parthenon in Athens.
- At the Poisson Rouge in NYC: an opera review with my friend Carole. (This was formerly the Village Gate)
- Walked the "High Line" in NYC with friends Karen, Naomi and Bill. Beautiful!
- Birdland to hear Nicholas Payton with Honolulu friends Lynne and Randy.
- Suny Purchase College: Bill McGlaughlin hosts a series there and this time it was with the Kalechstein, Laredo and Robinson Trio. Wonderful!
- Went to the lower east side's "Tenements Museum" with friend Susan from SF. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

RoadWords from Karrin Allyson - August 2011

Hello all! Thank you for checking in. We've had quite the last few months filled with lots of travel and great gigs! Thanks for coming out to see and hear us!

We start this issue of Roadwords way back in February, in Brookefield Wisconsin at the Sharon Lynn Performing Arts Center. These great people really know how to present a concert! That makes such a difference. It’s a beautiful theatre with a great crowd for a special night of music. I feel it was kind of the start of our starting to perform material from "Round Midnight." And it was a very good start. Next was something completely different but fun - a Valentine's concert in Palm Springs, CA at the El Dorado Club. People danced and it was a lot of was! It was also great to see our friends Dave and Dan who hosted us (Rod and Gerald Spaits and myself) to a lovely dinner the night before.

On to Omaha with the UNO Big Band - my alma mater. (This was the first big band I ever sang with - in college, although the faces have changed of course :) We performed at the beautiful Holland Theatre and that band sounded great! It’s always fun to see family and friends in my home towns (of which I'm lucky enough to have at least 5!).

Then, Edmunds, WA. to perform with their big band and the John Pizzarelli Trio - another fun and varied gig. It was also in honor of Frank DeMiero, the wonderful director and vocal guru in that sweet place. Playing with John and his trio was a kick!

On to West Palm Beach in Florida with Interplay and the JAMS concert. It was a very nice to treat to go south during the cold winter and I also got to see Uncle Ron, Vicki and family. Remember the Phoenix in KC? :)

In April, I was a part of the Blue Note's "Jazz for Japan" benefit concert at the Highline Ballroom in NYC. Got to hear so many great artists that night and they raised substantial funds for earthquake and tsunami relief.

Around this time I also got to hear Bill McGlaughlin's "Trout Week" concerts - five wonderful chamber music concerts broadcast live from WQXR's Greene Space in SoHo. Also really enjoyed Deb Winer's marvelous re-creation of the old New York night club scene at the 92nd St. Y. Featured a lot of our favorite local heroes, from Billy Stritch to Jay Leonhardt. Later on Billy showed up at our Birdland run and was kind enough to invite us to come hear his all-star Cy Coleman review. Was delighted to see Frank Brasile playing bari sax in the band. Frank's another Omaha native.

We recently heard Terrence Blanchard's quintet at Birdland - fabulous!! Also, finally got to watch Spike Lee's 'Requiem for New Orleans' - an excellent an maddening program that's very worth seeing."

Next stop was Pittsburgh at Theatre Square, another fun concert with Rod, Ed Howard and Matt Wlison for our first 'official' Round Midnight gig. Thank you to all of the great folks at this venue for making it a success. What a wonderful city! Then to Toronto for two really fun performances, first with Ross Porter at Jazz FM, where we did a live studio performance along with his insightful interview. Next we performed along with lots of other luminaries like Al Jareau who knocked us all out!

On to KC at the historic Folly Theatre. Along with Steve Nelson, Rod, Gerald and Matt Wilson, we had a great evening of music and a wonderful crowd. Thanks again to all there. Seeing so many friends in that wonderful theater really felt like coming home.

Then to Scullers in Boston - one of our favorite venues. Thanks to Freddie Taylor and the great staff there. We moved onto Northampton MA at the Iron Horse and saw lots of friends.

The Spoleto Festival has to go down as one of the most beautiful outdoor events I've played. Two nights under the starts in that lovely space. Along with Rod, Ed and Billy Drummond and lovely crowds. I also got to see my one and only voice teacher Jackie and family - special people.

Another favorite place: Birdland!! That was for the last week of April, into May. What a great week of music with along with Lewis Nash, Bob Sheppard, Steve Wilson, Rod and Ed. We had great crowds and the Birdland staff rocks!

Then to Yoshi's in Oakland, another favorite place and setting-- the bay area! Bruce Barth, Larry Kohut and Eric Montzka and I had a great couple nights. Also got to see more good friends there including Susan H and Bill!

Blues Alley in DC was the next stop. It had been too long since we had played DC. Along with Ed, Dave Stryker and Mark Walker, we had some fun nights of music in that soulful town.

Off to Vermont for the Interplay Jazz Camp which is always a fun time with the students and faculty there in a beautiful setting. If you are a student of this music (which we all are :) I highly recommend this week for you - try it!

Back to Omaha for the annual Blues and Jazz Fest. Due to all the flooding along the river, the concert was moved to the historic Orpheum Theatre. This is the theatre I heard so many artists, way back when I lived there: Cleo Laine, Mel Torme, Vladimir Horowitz, Emmanuel Ax, Dizzy just to name a few. So, it was special to be there for that reason too. Thanks to all who helped make that a success! Steve Wilson, Mark Walker, Rod and Gerald sounded great as usual.

Denver at "Dazzle" was next. It’s a nice little club that really makes you feel at home with lovely crowds. Then to Centralia, WA. at the historic Fox Theatre. These very special people also know how to present! Thanks to the great staff there in that sweet little town. Jeff Johnson joined us for that concert. In Denver I was also hosted to a wonderful dinner at Max & Linda's while there with our good friends Beth and Norman - what a treat!!

Then to another favorite venue, the Dakota in Minneapolis. If you're in the area, go there - for the spectacular food alone, not to mention the great music. I also got to see many family and friends.

And for my birthday - Whately, MA for the "Watermelon Wednesdays" series. In a SWEET little chapel sitting in the rolling hills of Western Mass, along with the "Valley Jazz Divas." We had a very special evening that unfolded like a magical spell.

Lots to report there, and we hope to see more of you in the next few months. Were returning to Jazz Alley in Seattle this week, then a little break for me (whew!) before the European tour begins.

I wish you all the best.