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Live Reviews

Karrin Allyson Quintet

By Published: March 12, 2004
Allyson is most effective when it comes to creating ambience. When she’s on stage, she exudes a kind of soft, muted electricity; she captivates her audience subtly, almost without notice. I suppose it’s because she’s just so comfortable with the material she’s interpreting: Whether it’s the Beatles or Bud Powell or some obscure Portugese tune, Karrin Allyson makes it look easy. Literary critic Harold Bloom has hypothesized that the great writers achieve their greatness precisely in their ability to make the strange familiar and the familiar strange. I’d hypothesize that Karrin Allyson’s personal aesthetic is something similar to this. I’m not comparing her with Shakespeare; rather, I’m just saying that she has that unique ability to make the time-worn material sound fresh, and the more obscure selections quite palatable. Karrin Allyson hits you with an eclecticism that, defying its nature, makes you feel right at home.

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