Personnel: Karrin Allyson (vocals); Steve Wilson (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Mulgrew Miller (piano, Fender Rhodes piano); Danny Embrey (guitar); Peter Washington (bass); Lewis Nash (drums).
Recorded at Sear Sound, New York, New York and G Studio Digital, Studio City, California between February 11 & March 20, 2002.
Much like Wynton Marsalis' Soul Gestures in Southern Blue trilogy, vocalist Karrin Allyson's In Blue is a celebration of the blues. But where Marsalis focused on original post-bop compositions, Allyson simply performs some of her favorite tunes by composers such as Mose Allison, George & Ira Gershwin, Blossom Dearie, Bonnie Raitt, and others. Coming on the heels of her much-lauded double-Grammy-nominated Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane, In Blue may seem less ambitious than its predecessor, but this would be an unfair judgment. Allyson tackles this concept with as much verve and artistry as the Coltrane project and it's never a bad thing to hear her interpret a standard. Interestingly, this is apparently virgin ground for the singer, as she has never attempted such an extended foray into blues territory before. Not surprisingly, the results are stellar, with Allyson's ruddy voice -- here sounding not dissimilar to Raitt's -- tailor-made for the blues. It doesn't hurt either that she brings along such consummate sidemen as pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Lewis Nash. ~ Matt Collar