Tag Archives: TCNJ

Oh what a beautiful . . . duo: Allyson and Cardenas


KarinAllyson2015_Ingrid_Hertfelder_7I’ve never been a groupie but am learning to be one for Karrin Allyson, who sang and played a Steinway on September 20 at TCNJ. For those who had not seen her, it was an eye/ear popper.

Even for those of us who had been at last year’s benefit concert, Chansons pour le Congo, it was a revelation to have an additional voice on stage — Allyson’s plus the blues of Steve Cardenas’ bass guitar, cradling the tones between the notes in a heart-twanging response.

The brand new CD, Many a New Day, with Rodgers & Hammerstein tunes and Kenny Barron and John Pattitucci on bass, was similar to the concert but I’m sorry to say for those who weren’t there, the concert was way better. At least for me. Partly because you could see Allyson really ‘getting into it,’ standing slim and strong, sparkly bracelet on her wrist, shakin’ her shaker, red stiletto shoes tapping back and forth, crooning and belting in that Midwestern girl-next-door accent with the sexy under-breath. Or at the Steinway, inhabiting that piano, in control, red shoes planted wide, playing that piano like a cello, sole of one red shoe keeping the beat, into it.

For “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” on the CD, Allyson sets up the dawn version of a stride piano  — delicate octaves like bird calls — and lights into the tune that recalls a cowboy riding past corn ‘as high as an elephants eye.‘ But this is no cowboy song. Oh no. And at the concert it was even more intimate, a sleepy-eyed aubade, S. O’Hara waking up on a beautiful morning after a beautiful night. And then Cardenas took that tune, caught it, and caressed those descending half-tones on ‘mor…n…ing,‘ a lover’s response.

What makes me a groupie — I want to hear it again on stage, because — good as Kenny Barron is on the piano — that song on the CD doesn’t evoke the heat of the live performance with Allyson playing as well as singing. I want to hear Cardenas and Allyson sing it again, live. Put me on the list!

Allyson will intro her album at Birdland, October 6-10. Kenny Barron’s show tours to McCarter on October 23. Allyson will be back in NYC in April at the Greene Space and Birdland.

Disclosure: I wrote some pro bono press releases for this concert, to benefit Congolese charities UFAR and FEBA

Many a New Day Will Shine — to benefit Congolese charities: Karrin Allyson

KarinAllyson2015_Ingrid_Hertfelder_7Now is the perfect time, says jazz artist Karrin Allyson, to revisit the Rodgers & Hammerstein songbook. Listen to her new album, Many A New Day, click her for a preview video.

See Allyson in person at a benefit concert “Chansons pour le Congo III” at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ),  . The concert, which benefits two Congo-based charities, will be Sunday, September 20, at 3 p.m. at the Mildred & Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing.

“These songs are innocent yet wise, hopeful yet nobody’s fool, calling us ever forward to be decent human beings,” says Allyson, who features Kenny Barron and John Patitucci on “Many a New Day” on the Motema label. “Sadly, the song ‘You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught,’  from ‘South Pacific’  (a musical that was written with the intention to fight racism) still resonates all too well today.”

The event is presented by the College of New Jersey, Women and Gender Studies Program, Women in Learning and Leadership and Office of the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.  Allyson will be accompanied by bass guitarist Ed Howard. A reception to meet the artists will follow the performance.

Tickets (available online here) are $70 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $30 for students, with a discount for TCNJ students.  Sponsorships range from Patron  at $240, including three tickets. to Karrin’s Circle for $1,000 with six tickets. For information  call 609-688-9979.

This will be the third concert that Allyson, a four-time Grammy nominee, has given to benefit the two charities. Founded  by an ecumenical group of Congolese women, Woman, Cradle of Abundance (FEBA) supports a sewing school for girls, medical care for women and children living with HIV/AIDS, counseling for survivors of rape and forced prostitution, and school fees for orphans .

UFAR, founded by PUMC member Dr. Daniel Shungu, is an African-inspired, Lawrenceville-based nonprofit charitable organization that aims, in partnership with other organizations, to eradicate onchocerciasis, a major public health problem in the Kasongo region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Women of the Congo have amazing strength,” says Allyson, “and I only want to help with their goals of a safe and healthy society, freed from diseases like AIDS and riverblindness, and to help the world see that they are FIRST class citizens.”