tuned in Ken Maiuri on Valley music

Last modified: Thursday, September 04, 2014
For jazz vocalist/pianist Karrin Allyson, the song’s the thing.

She’s a four-time Grammy nominee, she sings in five languages, she spent 20 years on the same record label, she’s done a TED talk and performed with symphony orchestras. But everything is just a footnote to the praise Allyson gets for her voice and how she uses it — subtle, tasteful, no frills, all in the service of the song. In an era of busy acrobatic vocalists, Allyson’s old-school approach keeps attracting critical kudos and new fans.

Her repertoire includes ’60s bossa nova favorites (in Portuguese and English), standards both time-tested and less-traveled (Mose Allison’s “I Don’t Worry About a Thing,” Benard Ighner’s “Everything Must Change”), vocalese versions of Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” and Hank Mobley’s “The Turnaround,” ballads from Billy Joel and the Beatles and much more.

Karrin Allyson will perform quartet-style (joined by guitarist Bob Mann, bassist Ed Howard and drummer Adam Cruz) at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The concert, her first show in Franklin County, is a benefit for Mi Vida Loca, the in-the-works Shelburne Falls Mexican restaurant and bakery from Michael Collins and Tony Palumbo.

Four bands on the Fourth: Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion host a special holiday quadruple bill that includes Winterpills (trio style), Dennis Crommett and Milton at the always-worth-the-drive Dream Away Lodge in Becket tonight at 5 p.m.

The Samirah Evans Quintet — featuring jazz/blues vocalist Evans and pianist Miro Sprague as well as Marty Jaffe, Conor Meehan and Michael Zsoldos — takes the stage at the Iron Horse on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Singer/songwriter Cheryl Wheeler is a longtime Valley favorite, with some songs that revel in clever (or goofy) rhymes for laughs (like the ripped-from-the-headlines “Pop Tarts and Spam”) and others that are raw, right from the heart, such as “If It Were Up To Me,” which she wrote after the Jonesboro schoolyard shooting in Arkansas in 1998. Wheeler plays a benefit show for — and at — the Institute for the Musical Arts in Goshen on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Valley jazz quartet Moment’s Notice — Dick Poccia on sax, Karl Rausch on guitar, Mark Dunlap on bass and Bill Matthews on drums — took their name from a ’50s Coltrane tune and they perform compositions from that same era. See them at Mocha Maya’s in Shelburne Falls on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

The Florence Music On the Porch series — featuring diverse concerts every Thursday evening during the summer months — continues its 2014 season with a Beatles tribute night on the porch of the Florence Civic Center on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. It’s free and family-friendly — blankets, picnics and lawn chairs are welcome.

Jazz vocalist Beth Logan Raffeld and pianist Molly Flannery will be joined by flugelhorn player Eddie Brainard, bassist Steve Bulmer and drummer Claire Arenius at the 1794 Meetinghouse in New Salem on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Nashville-based band J.P. Harris and the Tough Choices — their mantra: “keep it country, keep it simple” — play the Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.