Alyssa Allgood, vocals – Out Of The Blue – Jerujazz

Alyssa Allgood, vocals – Out Of The Blue – Jerujazz JJR-5, 49:41 ***:

A credible first outing.

(Alyssa Allgood – voice; Dan Chase – organ; Tim Fitzgerald – guitar; Chris Madsen – saxophone; Matt Plaskota – drums)

Alyssa Allgood is part of that cohort of up and coming young singers who are looking to make an impact in the jazz world. Not an easy thing to do given the nature of the business, and the changing pattern of the distribution channels for the end product. Out Of The Blue is Allgood’s attempt to capture lightning in a bottle, by earmarking her session to the hard-bop repertoire as defined by Blue Note Records.

Backed by a jim-dandy quartet, anchored by B-3 organist Dan Chase, the set list covers some of bops’ signature compositions. Allgood has added lyrics to several of these numbers, starting with Hank Mobley’s Dig Dis which he released on Soul Station and which she calls “Watch Me Walk Away”. From Chase’s opening organ rif, Allgood finds a way to convey the number’s essence, with lyrics that are tricky to align to the bop frame. The other compositions that now have Allgood’s lyrics are Wayne Shorter’s “Speak No Evil”, Sam River’s “Beatrice” and Joe Chambers’ “Mirrors”.

It is acknowledged that the harmonic structure of bop-based pieces is often complex and unusual, and thus does not readily lend themselves to the addition of lyrics. Kudos to Allgood for her efforts in bending the lyrics to the compositions, even though the words are often trite and the message uncertain. She is on much firmer ground with the Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne standard “It’s You Or No One” where these veteran tunesmiths know their way around a lyric. Allgood does a quick run through of the number, that segues into a strong organ solo from Chase, setting the stage for a scat offering, part of which is presented in a unison voicing with guitarist Tim Fitzgerald.

Scat singing is a perilous exercise and is not encouraged for singers just starting a career. Nevertheless Allgood is not deterred in this endeavour as evidenced by her take on the Joe Henderson blues “If”. While she does not threaten the likes of  Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan or Anita O’Day, she gets an E for effort. However it might be best for Allgood to wait for her voice to mature, build some resonance, depth, and vibrato before venturing further in this area. This is a credible first outing, but as the saying goes: “you just have to keep on keepin’ on, until you’ve achieved your goal”.

TrackList:  Watch Me Walk Away (Dig Dis); Noticing The Moment( Moment’s Notice); It’s You Or No One; Speak No Evil; Beatrice; Peace; If; Only A Memory (Ceora); Moanin’; Mirrors

—Pierre Giroux

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