"Naima" and two other ballads that John Coltrane recorded have been appended to the program line-up borrowed from his 1960-61 album Ballads. It is Karrin Allyson's plan to pay homage to Coltrane by recreating that influential album. James Carter, Bob Berg and Steve Wilson lend a significant hand; a solid rhythm section backs her up appropriately; and Allyson succeeds in creating a sterling tribute album that's neither imitative nor retro-productive.
Allyson assumes the spiritual role of Coltrane's saxophone on "Naima," with wordless vocals that lead the trio with her along mystical trails. Capturing the sounds that originally inspired her devotion to jazz, the singer pours this one straight from the heart. Saxophonist Carter blends with her to create an insurmountable homage. Elsewhere, Allyson's natural storytelling ease brings her 7th album as a leader in line with her respectable body of work. This past decade, she's honored others such as Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald through her performances. These ballads, associated with John Coltrane, allow Allyson to give the stories a fresh look. Perky, leaving no doubt as to intended expression, and surrounded by an all-star ensemble, the singer delivers more proof that she's at the very top of vocal jazz.
Track Listing: Say It (Over and Over Again); You Don't Know What Love Is; Too Young to Go Steady; All or Nothing At All; I Wish I Knew; What's New; It's Easy to Remember; Nancy (with the Laughing Face); Naima; Why Was I Born?; Every Time We Say Goodbye.
Personnel: Karrin Allyson-vocals, piano on "I Wish I Knew;" James Williams-piano; John Patitucci-acoustic bass; Lewis Nash-drums; Bob Berg, James Carter-tenor saxophone; Steve Wilson-soprano saxophone.