Won Over | Culture Features | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Culture » Culture Features

Won Over

Karrin Allyson was pro and so is Jazz at the Oxford

by

comment

As a teenager, I was pretty sure I wanted to be a professional singer. Took years of voice lessons, sang with the local opera company and eventually went to college for vocal performance. I ended up hating all the diva that comes with being a female performer and dropped out of the music program the winter of my freshman year to study political science.

Great decision, but this little pedigree has saddled me with a super judgmental skepticism toward professional female musicians. So, when I saw that jazz singer Karrin Allyson—whose polished studio albums have won top acclaim—was coming to Bend as part of the Jazz at the Oxford series, I decided to put my judgy face on and check out all the hype.

And there has been hype. Allyson has made 13 albums since her career started getting hot in the early 1990s. Over the years she's been nominated for four Grammy Awards and has sung in the best venues in the country, including Carnegie Hall as well as a number of America's most revered jazz clubs.

She's known for her sexy basso nova sound and the breadth of music she takes on—blues, jazz standards and bebop. The question when I went to see her last Saturday night with a friend was whether she could deliver like she does in a studio.

So, from the moment she opened her mouth, I was walking that fine line between attempting to just enjoy some jazz and critiquing every little bit of her stage presence and tone. That lasted for about half the length of the first song.

She was pro.

Please forgive me for the following sentence: Her voice was like a warm caramel being pulled apart, so gooey and elastic and brown sugary sweet. She proceeded to lay down believable scat and perfectly timed smirks and finger snaps for the next two hours. Didn't hit a shaky note all night and was super comfortable on stage.

My friend and I were impressed not just by Allyson but by the intimate atmosphere the Oxford has managed to make out of its conference room in the lower level of the hotel. We had steamer clams, a beet salad and fancy drinks from 10 Below—basically, we were able to hang on to a feeling that we might have been in a much bigger city where this sort of cool scene happens all the time.

There are still two more acts to come this season. Highly recommend checking them out.

Jazz at the Oxford

The Oxford Hotel, 10 NW Minnesota Ave.

oxfordhotelbend.com

Mel Brown Septet

Three shows: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22; 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23; 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. $35 at bendticket.com

<p>Tom Scott and California Express

Three shows: 8 p.m. Friday, March 15; 5 p.m. Saturday, March 16; 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16.

$49 at bendticket.com

Add a comment

More by Erin Foote Marlowe

Latest in Culture Features