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Karrin Allyson: Many a New Day: Karrin Allyson sings Rodgers and Hammerstein

C. Michael Bailey By

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Karrin Allyson projects always have all five points of the creative star pinned down: theme, repertoire, arrangement, sequencing, and support. Her recordings Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane (Concord, 2001), In Blue (Concord, 2002), Footprints (Concord, 2006), and 'Round Midnight (Concord, 2011) are all evidence of her unsurpassed musicianship and creative heart. Karrin Allyson's worst recording is still outstanding.

Artistically fearless, Allyson again spins golden lace from her talent arsenal. Many a New Day: Karrin Allyson sings Rodgers and Hammerstein, the singer's first recording for Motema, again touches the five points of a well-fashioned release. Her theme is the music of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, presented in the close quarters of the piano-bass rhythm section. The repertoire is select. It is not a complete survey of R&H oeuvre, rather, it focuses exclusively on Oklahoma! (1943), South Pacific (1949), The King and I (1951) and The Sound of Music (1959).

Allyson, an accomplished pianist, arranged all 14 selections, a considerable effort considering her supporting cast mentioned later. Her sequencing (or song choice) is measured and informed. Allyson did not take an easy route, covering the most popular songs from each show (save for Oklahoma!'s provision of "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin,'" and "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top"). Most notably (and gratefully) absent is "My Favorite Things," opting instead for a superb reading of "Edelwiess" with the singer accompanying herself on piano.

For support, Allyson is joined by pianist Kenny Barron and bassist John Patitucci. That might be the definition of class. She molds these outstanding musicians to her whims and wishes, producing sheer genius like the opening "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin,'" a hayseed tune if there ever was one and making it an art deco piece gospel blues. Her wordless doubling of Barron's piquant playing on the opening of the title tune is as rich as cream and heady as a martini. "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" from South Pacific is an unexpected delight joining an equally delightful, though expected "Bali Ha'i." Near perfect as a project Many a New Day: Karrin Allyson sings Rodgers and Hammerstein makes an excellent addition to an already exceptional discography.

Track Listing: Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’; Many a New Day; Happy Talk; I Cain’t Say So; I have Dreamed; Out of My Dreams; Bali Ha’I; when I think of Tom/Hello Young Lovers; We Kiss in a Shadow; You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught; something Wonderful; The Surrey with the Fringe on Top; Something Good; Edelweiss.

Personnel: Karrin Allyson: vocals, piano (14); Kenny Barron: piano; John Patitucci: bass.

Title: Many a New Day: Karrin Allyson sings Rodgers and Hammerstein | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Motema Music

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