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Imagina: Songs of Brasil

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Album Review

Karrin Allyson has sung Brazilian tunes before, notably on 1999's From Paris to Rio, but this time she's dedicated an entire album to the swaying rhythms of bossa nova and samba, and she's never sounded lovelier. Allyson has always been a gifted interpreter, and while her material in the past has drawn from any number of sources, her prime focus here is on the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. While choosing oft-covered tunes like "Desafinado" and "A Felicidade" may not be the riskiest thing Allyson could have done, nor the most original, she is so clearly in love with these compositions that she's easily forgiven for adding her name to the list of artists who have lent their voices to them. Allyson's vocal instrument is somewhat coarser and more world-weary than the majority of singers who gravitate toward Jobim's material, and here she favors stripped-down arrangements that accentuate the vulnerabilities and lived-in qualities of that voice. It works to great effect, as on "Double Rainbow," a ballad that begins sparsely, Allyson singing in Portuguese before switching over to English, a tactic she employs throughout much of the record. Accompanying herself on piano, Allyson phrases Gene Lees' Tin Pan Alley-esque lyrics, a meditation on the wonders of nature, carefully and thoughtfully, before handing the tune over to bassist David Finck, who turns in a solo that's creative but not showy. Not all of the songs here come courtesy of Jobim, and Allyson does equal justice to the moody "Pra Dizer Adeus" (Time to Say Goodbye), co-penned by Edú Lobo, Torquato Neto, and Chris Caswell, and the closing "É Com Esse Que Eu Vou," by Pedro Caetano, which pushes the beat somewhat harder than the more ballad-oriented music that populates most of the record. But in the end it's those Jobim songs that stick: Steve Nelson's vibes and marimba work lends a sensuality to "O Morro Não Tem Vez (Favela)," by Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes, and Gil Goldstein's accordion injects a bit of France into the Brazilian mood on the title track. Through it all, Karrin Allyson reminds listeners why she has consistently received praise over the years for her inherent ability to make any song her own.

Customer Reviews

from a brazilian guy

man ...let me tell from the perspective of a brazilian guy whose mother language is portuguese and bossa nova is something I grew up listening to on the radio...Karin has this sexy accent to her voice singing in portuguese that's hard to resist...the songs are bossa nova standards, nothing new there...everybody in the world of jazz has done that...but man , it is a cool american accent ...she captured the sensuality of brazilian music like very few american singers had done and in PORTUGUESE!!!! Congrats Karrin!!!loved it...

A Thoughtful and Beautiful CD

I had the good fortune to see Karrin twice last year in the Seattle area, so I've been waiting for this album. It's as good as I hoped. I grew up with the Portuguese of the Azores, and yet it's not easy for me to wrap my tongue around the beautiful Carioca pronounciations of Rio. So I'm even more impressed with how well she handles the language. And if you love this CD, I highly recommend Footprints!

Two of My Favorite Things on One CD--Irresistible !

Karrin Allyson and Brazilian music, does a combination get any better than that? Not in my world, it doesn't. This was a happy surprise to find Karrin had just released this CD on I-Tunes. We had the delight of hearing Karrin perform live in an intimate club setting at the Cerritos Center in Southern Caifornia last year. We went in as interested jazz fans and left as Karrin Allyson fans. She's very thorough and creative in her song choices and presentations. Don't miss your next opportunity to catch Karrin live in your area but, for now, why not just buy the CD like I just did and have her all to yourself to enjoy anytime?


Born: Great Bend, KS

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the more impressive jazz singers to emerge in the '90s, Karrin Allyson is a great scat singer but also highly expressive on ballads. Born in Great Bend, Kansas, Allyson grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and the San Francisco Bay Area -- during which time she began taking classical piano lessons, in addition to performing as a folksinger and in an all-female rock band, Tomboy. Upon graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1987 (and receiving a degree in piano), Allyson sang regularly at a Kansas...
Full Bio
Imagina: Songs of Brasil, Karrin Allyson
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Customer Ratings