ZANZIBAR BLUE, Broad and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia on the nights of April 25-27 featured the smoky jazz vocalizing of Karrin Allyson. Admission with shows at 9 and 11 p.m.for $25. She covered ballads, blues and a bit of bop with the sure touch of a singer who doesn’t just sing the words, but gets into the meaning of them. Her most recent CD from Concord Records, In Blue, has been drawing rave reviews for her artful, Kansas City inflections where she covers the musical field from "Evil Gal Blues" to "Angel Eyes". Her back up trio will include Danny Embrey, Todd Straight and Steve Varner. "I love the way the blues let you testify," Ms Allyson says. She did it eloquently on her appearance here just last year. In this year's performance she virtually did a replay of last year's show with a few different numbers but complete with the same joke she used about requesting your favorite number but not getting upset if she did not include it. The lady has a really nice Kansas City edge to her jazz stylings, but this viewer wished she had done a few more blues standards such as "Gimme A Pigfoot" and "Kansas City", which is after all, where she hails from. The audience seemed to love it and perhaps the numbers I like are so old they are lost in time.
THE KIMMEL CENTER (VERIZON HALL) Broad & Spruce St., Philadelphia showcased Peter Nero and the Philly Pops with the vocal ensemble, The Pops, April 25-27. They covered swing and pop classics from Glenn Miller and The Dorsey Brothers to the Manhattan Transfer. Tickets were $19 to $80. Times were April 25 at 8 p.m., April 26 at 2 p.m. and April 27 at 3 p.m. They went through the whole book with songs such as "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and "American Patrol" including one number that had everyone on their feet"God Bless America". Among the standout performances were the trombone solos of Brian Pastor on Dorsey's "Getting Sentimental Over You". Pastor leads a first class jazz band of his own in these parts and he also conducted a very well structured lecture on jazz prior to the event. Lou Lanza did a fine vocal rendition of "Straighten Up and Fly Right" and his dad, who was playing violin with the orchestra and who also plays in the Philadlephia Orchestra looked rightly proud. It was a touching moment. The jam packed hall was filled with geriatrics who quite clearly were not merely listening to the music but turning the pages of their lives as the various songs filled Verizon Hall.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.