A terrific singer who artfully insinuates her personality into everything she tackles, Karrin Allyson is one of finest interpreters in contemporary jazz. Her range is actually quite eclectic, encompassing bop, blues, French chansons, and pop, all filtered through her unique array of colorations, vocal textures, and ability to paint endlessly subtle shades of emotion. She's also often explored the equally varied and complex realm of Brazilian music, which is her entire focus on her latest gem, Imagina: Songs of Brasil (Concord). Singing in English and appropriately nuanced Portuguese, Allyson captures the peculiar Brazilian essence of breezy insouciance crossed with saudade, an untranslatable sense of wistful yearning. It's a collection of mostly bossa novas and ballads, half written by Brazilian icon Antonio Carlos Jobim, including the title track and touchstones "A Felicidade" (from the film Black Orpheus) and "Desafinado." The latter features Jon Hendricks's equally renowned English lyrics, which inspired Allyson to solicit English versions for some of the other songs. They're not quite as poetic as the Portuguese, but then again, Allyson could make gibberish sound like Keats.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 7 & 9:30 p.m. Starts: April 29. Continues through April 30, 2008