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Interviews

Karrin Allyson: Has Jazz, Will Travel

By Published: August 18, 2009

AAJ: That's great when you get to the point where you have enough catalog to do that.

KA: Exactly. We've got a ton. It's about thirteen tunes, taking one from each CD with one that was unreleased. There's a bonus track. It's a Tadd Dameron

Tadd Dameron
Tadd Dameron
1917 - 1965
arranger
song.

AAJ: Because usually when you go into a studio, you over record. You do more than you really need. So there's always something left on the shelf.

Karrin AllysonKA: Right. As far as the Brazilian music goes. I mentioned that we have eleven CDs out. So the very first CD I did, we had two Brazilian songs on it. Basically what I'm saying I've always loved it and on almost every CD there's been a Brazilian tune. I finally just decided to really focus on it and do a whole Brazilian project. We had a CD called From Paris To Rio out which did very well. That was French and Brazilian tunes. So people had asked a lot when I was going to put out a Brazilian CD. I do listen to my friends and fans to see what they might like.

AAJ: How long did it take you to learn Portuguese?

KA: Well, I learn it tune by tune. I don't speak Portuguese. I speak French. It was my minor in college. But my friend Lucia Guimaraes—she's been my coach for the tunes and she's really good.

AAJ: Your pronunciation is so precise.

KA: Thank you. Muito obrigada. I love it very much. I love languages. And I feel like to try and sing the songs in the original language helps to transport us. Playing it and listening to it. So it's different than simply singing English on top of a Brazilian song. Nothing wrong with that but I feel like it's a nice thing if you can try to learn the language it was originally written in.

AAJ: The other thing is the sounds in Portuguese are soft.

KA: Yes, you're right. It's a beautiful sound. Well, to receive a Grammy nomination for Imagina: Songs of Brasil was a big honor.

AAJ: I think it's wonderful. It was a beautifully done album. The packaging was lovely; the artwork.

KA: Thank you. I loved that artwork. And the musicians did a beautiful job. I loved Gil Goldstein

on accordion and, of course, Steve Nelson
Steve Nelson
Steve Nelson

vibraphone
on vibes and marimba.

AAJ: So you're going to keep doing Brazilian songs here and there.

KA: Oh, yes. It's always been in the repertoire. It's just more so now because of this project.

AAJ: But also, last year was the 50th anniversary of the bossa nova so there's a lot of Brazilian stuff coming out and a lot of performers showing up doing Brazilian stuff including Brazilians.

KA: Thankfully. That's why we wanted to do the CD as well.

AAJ: The Brazilians have such a wonderful joy in their music. They celebrate life.

KA: They sure do.

AAJ: And it really doesn't matter if you don't understand what the words mean.

KA: No, no. It's true. That's exactly right because music is a universal language. But sometimes people are burning to know the words. What gets me is sometimes we have people writing into our website asking, "Can you please send me the lyrics to a song we recorded?" But I'm singing the lyric in English. It's so funny to me.

AAJ: That's one thing—your diction. I've heard too many sloppy singers.

KA: Well, I know I want to know what they're saying when they're singing. Otherwise, I wouldn't be listening to a singer. You're telling a story.

AAJ: So, do you have anything brewing about your next project?

KA: It's brewing, that's for sure. I hate to say about our next project. I do have several things brewing.

AAJ: Okay, fine. But you do have something in the works.

KA: Yes. As I said, that CD is slated to come out in June and then we hope to go back into the studio later and do something.

AAJ: That's what I wanted to know. Now, the road.

Karrin Allyson



KA: The road. Well, I spend probably about sixty percent or seventy percent of my time on the road. Yes. You can check on our website. It's Karrin.com and you can see where we're going. But I'm also fortunate enough to have at least two to three leader gigs in my town per year—like New York is my town now. That's great. Birdland, of course and then also Dizzy's [Club Coca Cola] in the fall. So I have a lot New York things going on as well which is great, but I travel all the time.

AAJ: How often do you do Europe?

KA: It's becoming more and more. Usually it's once or twice a year at this point. In fact we're going to the Czech Republic and to Hungary, that's Eastern Europe of course. But we just back from Italy and Switzerland for two weeks. And we're playing the Norway Jazz Festival in August. So, it's not a ton, but it's getting more and more.

AAJ: The Orient. Have you done that?

KA: Yes, I've played Japan many times. I've never been to China nor Korea. So really, only Japan in the Orient. I hope to get to these other places.

AAJ: Because Shanghai, Singapore.

KA: I have been to Singapore. Sorry, I have played in Singapore. And love going just about anywhere that they want to have us. Really, it's not that I don't care, but I enjoy different cultures. I love the different foods. I love different feelings that folks have about things and that we can share ours and be sort of ambassadors—you know, musical ambassadors. I love the potential for that.



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