Karrin Allyson (with Nancy King): Life Is A Groove (Jordu)


Life Is A Groove (Jordu)


Karrin Allyson (vocals)


Footprints (Concord Jazz 2291)

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Karrin Allyson (vocals), Nancy King (vocals),

Bruce Barth (piano), Peter Washington (bass), Todd Strait (drums)


Composed by Duke Jordan, lyrics by Chris Caswell


Recorded: New York, September 24-29, 2005


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Karrin Allyson and Nancy King are separated by a generation, but they have a symbiotic relationship. While each has a distinctive style and sound, they blend especially well when performing in a duet setting. On the chorus of “Life Is A Groove” (Chris Caswell’s lyricized version of “Jordu”), we hear Allyson and King separately before they join together at the bridge. While their blend at the bridge and final eight of the opening and closing choruses is quite good, they save the best for the end. Over a repeated tag, they scat and riff together with infectious joy. The listener’s focus shifts back and forth between the two singers, even though both vocalists are singing most of the time. The trade-offs are as an easy flow rather than in a preset plan of “you take 2 bars, then I’ll take the next 2”. Further, both Allyson and King move freely between scat and lyrics without destroying the balance. Unfortunately, we just don’t hear enough of it: the solo section between the theme choruses is all instrumental, and while those solos are superb, the coda gives us what we wanted to hear—two marvelous vocalists improvising over a great set of bop chord changes.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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