on 3 May 2011
The American vocalist/pianist Karrin Allyson's 2011 effort 'Round Midnight' is a smoky, afterglow affair that builds upon the singer's noted skill for interpreting jazz and pop standards.
Conceptualized around the classic Thelonious Monk title track, the album plays like a darkly cool nightclub set -- not dissimilar to the kind of live performances Allyson is known for.
Backing Allyson here is a superb lineup featuring guitarist Rod Fleeman, bassist Ed Howard, and drummer Matt Wilson, as well as saxophonist Bob Sheppard and harmonica player Randy Weinstein.
Together, Allyson and her ensemble deliver intensely dramatic and romantic takes on such standards as the leadoff "Turn Out the Stars", the mid-album "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most", and of course the title track, which Allyson performs starkly with just bass accompaniment.
Elsewhere, Allyson gives a sweetly moving take on Paul Simon's "April Come She Will" and goes against the usual uptempo style of "I'm Always Chasing Rainbow", instead delivering a ruminative, impressionistic slow-ballad version that allows her to reveal the nuances of Gene Lee's lyrics. Ultimately, it's Allyson's emotive voice and her ability to bring out these soft, bittersweet nuances in every track that makes 'Round Midnight such a listenable and heartfelt album. M. Collar
on 29 January 2012
I've nothing much to add to Matt Collar's review which I first read on the AllMusic blog. Only to add that it's been literally decades since I've heard Paul Simon's "April Come She Will", but it was certainly worth the wait to hear Karrin Allyson's very sweet rendition. Overall, this album is testimony to a true artist at work with an almost hidden theme - most songs being taken from Bill Evans' songbook - which Karren undertakes with sensitivity and a masterly skill of the subject matter , songs of lost love and emotional distress.