Why Do I Love vocalist Karrin Allyson?April 13, 2012
On my run awhile ago I was reflecting on why I enjoy listening to jazz vocalist Karrin Allyson so much, on recordings and in live performance. Last night’s concert in Vancouver she performed with the vocal group “Night Cap” and with the “A Band” meaning that she was performing with some of the top students in Capilano University jazz program. The students must have been in heaven performing with such a great musician and a gracious performer on top of it all.
Why do I like Karrin so much? Is it because she is beautiful? My friend Vince on the intermission break (and I don’t think I am betraying any confidence here) said to me: “I think I’m in love” and I imagine that he has his own reasons for feeling that way and some of that may have to do with her beauty and charisma. I do enjoy watching someone attractive on stage and it is proven that all of us appreciate beauty in people in nature and in music. That’s not the reason I like her.
Is it because she has a beautiful voice? She does have that but that’s not the main reason. I do enjoy the special little “gold-dust” that she has in her voice that is a type of warmth with a little scratch in it like a Bonnie Raitt or a Peggy Lee voice that I have always liked.
Is it because she is a gracious performer on stage with an ease and comfort and warmth? With an open smile and bubbly nature she is easy to adore but those aren’t the main reasons I like her.
I believe it’s because she never ever sings with the “listen to what my voice can do!!” approach to the music. She’s never gratuitous in her choices and has exquisite taste and control in all she does whether singing a ballad, a bebop tune or a tune from the pop genre. It’s all about the song. With her singing she seems to say “here’s a beautiful song and here’s my soul/heart connection to it”. When a song called for some hefty blues touches she delivered that. When a song called for space and some subtlety she delivered that. It’s all about her connection with the song. When a song’s dynamics are building with a boisterous burn as the rhythm section digs in, she’s right there. She’s got it all and she has the incredible control and exquisite taste to know exactly where and when to shift gears.
Hearing her encore last night as she accompanied herself on the piano and sang Billy Joel’s song “And So It Goes” made my heart cry and sing at the same time. That’s why I love Karrin Allyson.