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Karrin Allyson Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane

It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention. If that is true, than singer/pianist Karrin Allyson must find it a necessity to be inventive: She appears to be always looking for new ways to present her music...taking chances that other singers either have not thought of, or dare not try.

I kind of figured she was special when I first met and interviewed her shortly after she signed with the Concord label in the early 1990s. About a dozen years later, I interviewed her again, and she not only remembered me, but also recalled the contents of our chat. Again I was impressed.

I've been further impressed by her work over the years, and took even more notice of her when, 11 years ago, she recorded a CD titled Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane - 11 songs recorded by Coltrane, and one, "Naima," the name of his first wife, was written by the saxophone great in tribute to her. Among the other songs are, "All Or Nothing At All," "Nancy With The Laughing Face, " "Too Young To Go Steady," And "You Don't Know What Love Is."

It's tough enough for an instrumentalist to follow work laid down by Coltrane, and perhaps doubly tough for a singer to try covering. But Ms. Allyson is no ordinary singer; several of her other dozen-plus CDs also reflect her adventurous and artistic nature. She's been quoted as saying "Taking chances...that's part of jazz. Taking a h___of a lot of chances."

Like the once-famous circus high-wire aerialists The Flying Wallendas, Karrin Allyson also likes working without a net.

Further beautifying Ballads, the daring chanteuse is backed by a corps of outstanding instrumentalists.--BP

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Also known as "BP with the GM," (translation: "Bob Perkins with the Good Music"), Mr. Perkins has been in the broadcasting industry for more than five decades as an on-air host, and is now commonly referred to as a Philadelphia jazz radio legend.