Jazz Vocals

Blues Surprise


Karrin Allyson was at the top of her game when she recorded her first blues album, In Blue, in early 2002. That wonderful, occasionally throaty voice of hers -- touchingly vulnerable yet sure and confident, always mellifluous and at ease, and musical as all get out -- was emanating with that undefinable mix of outer beauty and inner knowing that have earned her, to this date, four Grammy nominations.

Although she built her international career singing jazz, Allyson had already sung many of the blues on this 13-track treat when she conceived the album and recorded it in New York and Studio City. Some songs are classics: Mose Allison's "Everybody's Cryin' Mercy," which she first heard on a Bonnie Raitt album; Oscar Brown, Jr.'s "Long As You're Living" and "Hum Drum Blues;" Tommy Flanagan and Jay Leonhart's "My Bluebird;" Joe Williams' "Evil Gal Blues," which Allyson quips is a persona she only assumes as an "act of self-defense" in loud, boisterous clubs; "Bye Bye Country Boy," which she learned from the great Blossom Dearie; and "Angel Eyes," inspired, in part, by Frank Sinatra's classic version.

I love the lines about the cold war and peace talks in Joni Mitchell's very au courant (at the time it was written) "Blue Motel Room." I can't get enough of the opening number, "Moanin'," which Allyson learned especially for the album. I love the exquisite taste and understated restraint with which Allyson and her five musicians go to it. In short, I just love In Blue.