Karrin Allyson Live at Birdland
What about Allyson's stunning version of "Samba Saravah" on her 1999 From Rio to Paris album? How was that tune chosen, having been recorded by only a handful of singers (mostly Brazilian) over the decades? The song, the only samba featured in the 1966 Francis Lai film A Man and and A Woman, was composed by Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes and French actor/singer Pierre Barouh, who sang the French lyrics in the film. Allyson explained that she was introduced to the song during the late 1990s by a mutual friend and guitarist Fleeman and welcomed it as a natural fit since it reminded her of "Live for Life" from a subsequent Lai film. In the post-Millennium bossa nova world, Bebel Gilberto has recorded "Saravah" under the title "Samba de Bencao."
Finally, I ask if the singer was disappointed by the reaction of the jazz press to her "singer/songwriter" album, Wild For You. Karrin's response was quite interesting: it's clear she gives a lot of thought to addressing this issue. Her response is that these tunes always go over with a live audience and are frequently requested by her fans. She further suggests that the culprits here may be the "jazz police," who likely have not given the album the chance it deserved. She adds that it is a jazz album albeit not with necessarily "jazz tunes," those earlier standards comprising the so-called "Great American Songbook."
I'd have to second that. Wild For You is a reminder of the power and adaptability of great popular songs of any era, including material from the James Taylor/Cat Stevens/Jimmy Webb repertory, especially when served by a spot-on interpretation of a song like Joni Mitchell's "All I Want," on which Allyson fully captures the basic essence of the song's melodic-lyrical story. Moreover, when was the last time that anyone covered a worthy song like Melissa Manchester's hit "I Got Eyes"?