Allyson projects an instantly recognizable tonal personality, illuminating hidden layers of emotion within songs that are drawn from a vast well of styles and genres—from the blues, contemporary pop, and the Great American Songbook, to the bossa nova, chanson, and the more specialized jazz and bebop repertoire.
What really separates Allyson from her peers is her ability to communicate oceanic emotions with minimal artifice. “The idea of craft permeates her music,” wrote Richard Cook, author of the Penguin Guide to Jazz Records in a 2004 performance review that admirably encapsulates Allyson’s qualities.
“One of the most appealing things about her singing is its lack of mannerism. There are no dopey melismas, nothing of that afflicted gospel soul feel that a lot of younger singers depend on. She doesn’t try anything foolishly acrobatic. Yet in her way, she’s an ambitious and adventurous performer. She sometimes puts in a scat chorus which is done almost diffidently, without showoff contours. She’ll take over a familiar lyric and make it sound fresh by use of quiet touches—sitting back on certain beats, turning away from a big line and highlighting a different one.”