2

Alyssa Allgood: Out Of The Blue

Tyran Grillo By

Sign in to view read count
If Alyssa Allgood's debut EP Lady Bird made a splash, then Out of the Blue is a veritable deluge of inspired thinking. The Chicago vocalist's imprint is evident in every lick of this full-length follow-up. From the original lyrics and arrangements to her choice of musicians and production, Allgood uses everything in her toolkit throughout 10 redux tunes from the Blue Note catalog. Many of these tracks started out as instrumentals in their heyday, foregrounding the melodic and improvisational stylings of pioneers as diverse as Bobby Timmons, Wayne Shorter, and Hank Mobley. The latter's "Dig Dis" is carefully reimagined here as "Watch Me Walk Away," an emotional anthem that, by Allgood's lyrical spark, bears the torch of Dionne Warwick's "Walk on By." From bar one, the talents of Dan Chase (organ), Tim Fitzgerald (guitar), and Matt Plaskota (drums) are duly evident under Allgood's unforced control. Their rapport establishes a running pattern, as Fitzgerald salves Chase's flames with legato suggestions, while Plaskota stays true to the roots beneath it all. The chemical brilliance of their reactions sings through collective vehicles like "Beatrice" (Sam Rivers), "Moanin'" (Bobby Timmons), and Lee Morgan's "Only a Memory (Ceora)" with smoothest conviction.

Naturally, saxophonist Chris Madsen adds his two cents and so much more to awesome effect in John Coltrane's "Noticing the Moment (Moment's Notice)" and Shorter's "Speak No Evil." In the first, a lyrical mission statement for the project if there is one, he harmonizes with Allgood but also ventures out on his own, trailing her command of melody with cool afterglow. In the second, he complements the bandleader's mahogany intonation with audible moonlight. Madsen further epitomizes the vibrancy of the engineering, which gives the album the feeling of having been recorded live in a club. This atmosphere reaches peak density in the album's closer, a sumptuous take on "Mirrors" by Joe Chambers.

But it's Allgood, with that fullness of expression found in so few vocalists cut from current cloth, who attracts the brightest spotlight. Sounding even more mature than she did on her first album, she is quintessential in every regard. The artistry of her scat and vocalese, whether it floats like a butterfly in "It's You or No One" (also a marathon run for Plaskota) or stings like a bee in Joe Henderson's "If," she treats the art of wordless singing as it should be—which is to say, as an instrument in its own right. But, in the same way that I often marvel at the pencil sketches of master painters, I find myself marveling just as well over her straightforward balladry. There's something about her delivery, for instance, of Horace Silver's "Peace" that speaks to the very heart of her persona and how much more light it has to give before it runs out of wick. The end result is an album of such charm and intelligence in equal measure, it'll having you saying all's good with Allgood at a time when the same might not be said for the world at large.

Track Listing: Watch Me Walk Away (Dig Dis); Noticing The Moment (Moment's Notice); It's You Or No One; Speak No Evil; Beatrice; Peace; If; Only A Memory (Ceora); Moanin'; Mirrors.

Personnel: Alyssa Allgood: voice; Dan Chase: organ; Tim Fitzgerald: guitar; Chris Madsen: saxophone; Matt Plaskota: drums.

Title: Out Of The Blue | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Jerujazz Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Year in Review
Album Reviews
Bailey's Bundles
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Out Of The Blue

Out Of The Blue

Jerujazz Records
2016

buy
Lady Bird

Lady Bird

Self Produced
2015

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jul11Thu
Alyssa Allgood Quartet
Birdland
New York, NY
$30

Related Articles

Read This Should Be Fun Album Reviews
This Should Be Fun
By David A. Orthmann
April 20, 2019
Read Transoceanico Album Reviews
Transoceanico
By Patrick Burnette
April 20, 2019
Read Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection Album Reviews
Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 20, 2019
Read Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972 Album Reviews
Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972
By John Kelman
April 19, 2019
Read HUJE 2018 Album Reviews
HUJE 2018
By Jack Bowers
April 19, 2019
Read Farallon Album Reviews
Farallon
By Jerome Wilson
April 19, 2019
Read Burning Meditation Album Reviews
Burning Meditation
By John Sharpe
April 18, 2019