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.

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