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JAZZ REVIEW | Alyssa Allgood "From Here" by Jeff Cebulski

From Here

Alyssa Allgood

Next Records, 2024.

By Jeff Cebulski | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Generally considered, vocal jazz concept albums can be dominated by the theme to the detriment of improvisation. On her new album From Here, Alyssa Allgood addresses the female experience as both a staunch advocate and an empathic participant. The sentiments expressed

are so strong that, on first hearing, a casual jazz fan may be put off by the tenor of the narratives and Allgood’s strong characterizations. The greater truth is that there aren’t many jazz singers who step out and tackle gender issues with as much force, clarity, and jazz integrity as Allgood exudes on this album.

Crucially, Allgood makes sure the jazz of her album is an equal part of the whole. First, she chose a stellar ensemble to sing with, including Greg Ward on saxophone, John Patitucci on bass, Geoffery Keezer on piano, and Kendrick Scott on drums. Next, Allgood applies her established singing chops, including her wonderful scatting, during the range of emotions represented in the 12 songs that seem ordered for a live performance.

A thesis behind the proceedings consists of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” (even though the jazz is muted), the single “Brave Little Flower” (“where you are planted does not define you”), and “Still Searching” (“Caught in the in-between / her troubles go unseen”}, songs that describe potentially destructive social dichotomies a woman has to negotiate.

Allgood’s high confidence is augmented by the Coltrane-tinged opening on “Burn (For Betty)” that leads to a confident, rhythmically-varied delivery, ala the referenced Betty Carter. The band cooks hard as Allgood proclaims “I’ve got to let it burn!” Emotional sister-support follows on “Your Wings,” which has an Abbey Lincoln vibe. Again the ensemble engages in deep swing.

Other songs take on betrayal and the introspection following it; a forward-thinking yet realistic life view; and the embrace and promise of the moment, culminated by the Broadway-optimistic “Turn to Gold,” complete with chorus.

A revisit to her past albums suggests we should not be surprised that From Here emerged from the creative world of Alyssa Allgood or that the jazz rises in tandem with the message. And how much this album is a mirror of Allgood herself or of people she knows becomes less and less important. As brave as Billie Holiday was in recording “Strange Fruit,” Allgood addresses a too

common social malady and her own self-actualization within it with focused emotion and verve.

Alyssa Allgood, From Here. Next Records, 2024.

Alyssa Allgood, vocals

Geoffrey Keezer, piano

John Patitucci, bass

Kendrick Scott, drums

Greg Ward, saxophone

About Jeff Cebulski

Jeff Cebulski, who lives in Chicago, is a retired English educator (both secondary and collegiate) and longtime jazz aficionado. His career in jazz includes radio programs at two stations in southeast Wisconsin, an online show on Kennesaw State’s (GA) Owl Radio from 2007 until 2015, and review/feature writing for Chicago Jazz Magazine since 2016, including his column "Jazz With Mr. C". He has interviewed many jazz artists, including Joshua Redman, Charles Lloyd, Dave Holland, John Beasley, and Chris Brubeck, as well as several Chicago-based players. Jeff is a member of the Jazz Journalists Association. Contact Jeff at


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