Many a New Day (Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers and Hammerstein), the jazz singer’s latest album due for a September release, is likely to fall into one of two categories: songs that never grow old or songs that have been done so often they have lost their luster. But all you have to do is listen to Allyson’s work on the album’s opener, “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” and it is clear where this album belongs. Fronting an all-star duo—two dynamos of jazz, Kenny Baron on piano and John Patitucci on bass—Allyson proves herself a creative force to be reckoned with. Together they take song after song, 14 in all, and infuse them with renewed energy. If you’ve heard them before, and it’s likely you have, you have never heard them like this.
The songs are drawn from only four Rodgers and Hammerstein shows: Oklahoma! (5 songs), South Pacific (3 songs), The King and I (4 songs), and The Sound of Music (2 songs), and while the individual songs are all well known, they are not always the biggest hits from the shows. Missing are songs like “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” and “Hello Young Lovers.” While beautiful, less covered tunes like the album’s title song and the message song from South Pacific “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” are justifiably spotlighted.
Allyson has a beautiful voice which she uses creatively whether swinging and scatting on “The Surry With the Fringe on Top” or teasing sexily with her smoky take on “I’m Just a Girl That Can’t Say No.” Both are versions that transform the songs. She does a wistfully atmospheric vocal on “I Have Dreamed” aided by some elegant piano solo work from Barron, who manages to add effective highlights throughout the album.
“Out of My Dreams” gives Patitucci a sweet solo opportunity. “Happy Talk” begins with some illustrative happy vocalise. Indeed song after song shows Allyson at the top of her game. This is no ordinary lounge singer, this is a woman who can hold her own with the best of the jazz singers.
And the best thing about this new album is that she’s still got a long list of Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes to work her magic on.
[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B011WGRYG8]