Karrin Allyson brings a Midwestern sensibility to jazz

The Artistry of… Karrin Allyson

She is a Midwesterner, from the Great Plains state of Kansas. That presents a sensibility I understand. That gentle, does-no-harm, wry perspective on the rest of the world, a perspective that kind of always wonders why everyone else is making such a big deal about everything. It’s a “you just do it” sensibility.

For Karrin Allyson, music started early and the foundation is solid, with music in the family and classical music as the base. She’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, too — she was the lead singer in an all-girl band called Tomboy.

Allyson’s body of work as a performer and composer reflects her diversity of genres, including being able to sing in many different languages beyond her mother tongue of English. There are multiple Grammy nominations to her name. I think JazzTimes has her summed up perfectly: “Even those casually familiar with vocalist and pianist Karrin Allyson’s 26-year recording career surely appreciate her tremendous versatility … the spiritedness of Carole King, the perspicacity of Paul Simon, the warmth of Irving Berlin, and the bite of Bob Dorough or Dave Frishberg.” She’s got some classical, some jazz, some rock — and a little perspicacity thrown in for good measure.


The Artistry of… is a weekly series that reflects on the passion and essence of an artist. It airs Wednesday evenings on Dinner Jazz with John Devenish.


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