Karrin Allyson

One of the more impressive jazz singers to emerge in the '90s, Karrin Allyson is a great scat singer but also highly expressive on ballads. Born in Great Bend, Kansas, Allyson grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and the San Francisco Bay Area -- during which time she began taking classical piano lessons, in addition to performing as a folksinger and in an all-female rock band, Tomboy. Upon graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1987 (and receiving a degree in piano), Allyson sang regularly at a Kansas City nightclub owned by her uncle, a locale Allyson decided to settle down in and call her permanent home base. Signed to the Concord Jazz label, in 1992 Allyson issued her debut, I Didn't Know About You, which led to such accolades as being name-checked in Playboy's Annual Reader's Poll alongside such greats as Ella Fitzgerald and Shirley Horn. Subsequently, Allyson assembled a fine backing band consisting of fellow Kansas City musicians: pianist Paul Smith, guitarists Danny Embrey and Rod Fleeman, bassist Bob Bowman, and drummer Todd Strait, who have played on the majority of her recordings.