Sanda Allyson Shows Talent and Taste on Solo Album

Sanda Allyson

As Is

Local jazz songbird Sanda Allyson drops her first full-length CD in Knoxville, an 11-song affair that casts Allyson's own performance alongside the minimalist accompaniment of only two other instruments—the liquid fretless bass of Taylor Coker, and the impeccable keys of Matt Coker and Keith Brown (son of Donald Brown), who take turns at the piano. From the opening moments of "Nearness of You," it's clear that Allyson is a singer and performer blessed with rare gifts, and with a rare insight and clarity of vision. Her voice is beautiful; that much is evident within a second or two of hearing her. But almost equally palpable is her taste. She commands attention with her voice's natural, supple grace and her unerring sense of the moment. The virtuosic effusions of the young pianists provide such thorough counterweight, they are so chordally and expositionally complete, that the only additional instrumentation that makes any sense is the bottom-filling rhythm-and-melody embroidery of Taylor Coker's lyrical four-string. A rare, spare, gem of an album.