Jazz singer-pianist-composer Karrin Allyson will bring her show to New Jersey at 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 20, in Afternoon Music’s first concert of the season at The Unitarian Church in Summit, 4 Waldron Ave. (at Springfield Ave.)

Just awarded a rare five-star review in DownBeat magazine for her new album “Round Midnight,” the multi-talented Allyson will be backed by two veteran sidemen, Bob Mann on guitar and Ed Howard on bass.  After the performance, the audience is invited to meet the performers at a reception.

Allyson, a Kansas native who now lives in New York, has spent the last 15 years carving out an impressive career as a singer, songwriter, pianist, composer and bandleader.  Her 13 CDs span styles from Gershwin and Cole Porter to Brazilian bossa nova and Thelonius Monk.  They have won her two Grammy nominations. 

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Her new CD “Round Midnight” is an eclectic mix of jazz and pop classics by composers from Bill Evans and Duke Ellington to Paul Simon and Stephen Sondheim.  “The elegant clarity of her voice, combined with the subtle nuances of her organic phrasing make these songs her own,” commented Jack Goodstein on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website.

Allyson spends much of the year on the road, playing major jazz festivals and numerous club dates.  In New York, she has performed at the Jazz Standard but also at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the 92nd Street Y.  In the weeks before her Summit show, she is appearing in Istanbul, Athens, Paris, Vienna and Rotterdam.

“Allyson brings a timbre that is part ice and part grain—incisive, original and emotionally convincing,” wrote legendary jazz critic Gary Giddins in the Village Voice.  “She doesn’t preen, flirt or act coy,” says the Los Angeles Times.  “With Ms. Allyson there is never any nonsense.  What you see and hear is what you get…a show of honest, thoughtful musicality.”

            Guitarist Bob Mann began his career with the U. S. Air Force concert jazz band and has gone on to tour and record with a diverse list of artists from Linda Ronstadt to Cher, Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand.  Since 1987, he has recorded and toured with James Taylor as well as composing for television and films.

            Versatile bassist Ed Howard has a long-standing association with the Roy Haynes Quartet and continues to tour and record with the drummer.  From 1983 to 1992, he was bassist in the late jazz saxophonist Clifford Jordan’s quartet.  Howard has also been involved with Gary Thomas’ 7th Quadrant, moving outside the parameters of acoustic jazz into Thomas’ rap/hiphop-inspired rhythms and harmonies.

            Afternoon Music also announces its two upcoming concerts for the 2011-2012 season: three New Jersey musicians--harp virtuoso Elaine Christy with flutist Judith Pearce and violist Jessica Thompson—on Sunday, January 29, and violinist Evelyn Estava, cellist Gerall Hieser and pianist Mitchell Vines on Sunday, April 1.  Vines is also Afternoon Music’s artistic director.

Afternoon Music tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors.  Subscriptions for all three concerts are being offered at $50 for adults and $40 for seniors.  Students are welcome free.

Afternoon Music is funded in part by grants from the Manley-Winser Foundation, the Summit Area Public Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through a grant administered by the Union County Division of Cultural & Heritage Affairs.

For advance tickets, send a check made out to Afternoon Music to the church at 4 Waldron Avenue, Summit, NJ, 07901.  Further information is available at (908) 273-3245 or www.ucsummit.org.