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Out of the Blue
Alyssa Allgood – Vocals
Dan Chase – Organ
Chris Madsen – Tenor saxophone
Tim Fitzgerald – Guitar
Matt Plaskota – Drums
On the delightful Out of the Blue, expressive vocalist Alyssa Allgood interprets ten classic tunes from Blue Note Records’ legendary catalog of the 1950s to 1960s. For few of these instrumental gems the words already exist, but the ones where Allgood penned the lyrics to the music are clever and catchy. The focus of the album is not on the lyrics, but the way Allgood uses her agile, lithe vocal chords as an improvisational instrument, matching her sidemen’s ad lib phrases.
On pianist Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin’,” Allgood and saxophonist Chris Madsen engage in a stimulating duet that brims with soulfulness. Her voice rises and falls, matching Madsen’s wails and honks over the band’s rumbling percolations. Organist Dan Chase provides the simmering core around which the rhythmic flourishes coalesce.
Chase lays down darkly hued, complex lines on saxophonist Wayne Shorter’s signature “Speak No Evil.” Allgood articulates her own verse to Shorter’s music with eloquence and refreshing originality. Meanwhile, saxophonist Sam Rivers’ “Beatrice” allows Allgood to demonstrate her scatting and exquisite vocal acrobatics.
Allgood possesses charming versatility; she lets her singing float sensually over the groups’ refrains on pianist Horace Silver’s mellow ballad “Peace.” Her song glides effortlessly over Chase’s smooth chords. In contrast, on tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson’s “If,” she delivers a supple and breathtakingly energetic performance. The piece also features guitarist Tim Fitzgerald with a muscular, bluesy solo and drummer Matt Plaskota’s thunderous polyrhythms.
With her first full-length release, Allgood already has asserted her artistic uniqueness. But instead of choosing between becoming an interpreter of The Great American Songbook or an ultra-individualist singer songwriter, she has forged a different path. Embracing the singular sound of perhaps the most iconic jazz label, Allgood has created a one-of-a-kind work that pays homage to the past while looking forward.