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Kimberly Allison

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Biography

Based in Los Angeles but originally from Kansas City, MO, guitarist Kimberly "KC" Allison is a blues-oriented instrumentalist with a wide variety of influences—many from the blues, but some from other areas of music. Although the flexible, broad-minded Allison has a blues orientation, she is by no means a blues purist; not everything she plays adheres to a traditional 12-bar blues structure, and her work owes a lot to rock, soul, funk and jazz as well as different styles of blues. Allison's guitar playing has been greatly influenced by BB King, Albert Collins, T-Bone Walker and other blues icons, and she shows an awareness of both the Texas and Chicago blues traditions. But there are also elements of Jimi Hendrix (arguably the first true heavy metal/hard rock artist), Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan in her playing, and she clearly has a strong appreciation of jazz—not only jazz-rock fusion improvisers like John Scofield, Larry Coryell and Mahavishnu Orchestra founder John McLaughlin, but also, straightahead bop favorites such as Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass. Allison, in fact, has a degree in jazz guitar from the University of Southern California (USC) and would have no problem being a full-time jazz instrumentalist if she decided to move in that direction—she definitely has the chops and the technique for it. But instead, the Southern California resident has opted to incorporate jazz rather than focusing on it exclusively. Allison's eclectic outlook is one of her strong points; her ability to move from a tough, aggressive blues-rock groove to a more cerebral, fusion-minded approach to the occasional soul-jazz/hard bop number has made for some very unpredictable albums.

Allison, who does a great deal of music teaching in Southern California, released her first album, Old, New, Borrowed and Blues (which featured a Texas vocalist known as Mister Blues) on her own label, Starliner Music, in 2001. Allison's totally instrumental sophomore album, Beyond Blue, came out on Starliner in 2004.