Allison Scull and Victor Martin's unusual collaborative style--singer-songwriter plus saxophone--connects grown-ups and little people alike.
Together they create a fusion of musical forms uniquely their own. They blend roots music — a fusion of jazz, folk, blues, a little funk, originals and some jazz standards laced with some French lyrics (Allison learned French where she grew up in Belgium).
As a duo, Allison and Victor have shared the stage with The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tuck and Patti, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Craig Chaquico, Shana Morrison, Archie Lee Hooker, Acoustic Alchemy and blues legend John Hammond. Their sound has also hit the Touchtunes scene--and can be heard on over 40,000 digital jukeboxes in the U.S. and Canada.Their constant performance schedule has contributed to their growing fan base on the West Coast. Their music has also struck a chord in the wine country of Northern California and Oregon as well as the festival circuit. Mostly performing as a duo, they have also developed a show with a stellar array of musicians.
As of fall 2010, their song "Esperanza" was nominated in Top 10 by the International Association of Independent Recording Artists. They were also awarded a Community Achievement Award by Northern California's Siskiyou Arts Council for "demonstrating the spirit of creativity, heart and excellence in their work, while committing time and energy promoting the arts in their communities."
Allison and Victor have released three CDs to date: Cool like the Breeze 2010, Allison Scull and Victor martin Live, and From the Back Burner. To learn more about these artists, see www.allisonandvictor.com.
Allison Scull: vocals, guitar
Victor Martin: saxophone, vocals, and shaker
Guest players perform on piano, percussion, bass, and additional guitar when needed.
Cool like the Breeze 2010
Allison Scull and Victor Martin LIVE 2006
From the Back Burner: 2002
Allison St.: Allison Scull, solo album, 1998
Goin' Back Home August 2009
Best of Jazz at Old City Hall, 2008
Esperanza (Cool Like the Breeze CD)
A Wish's New Year (Cool Like the Breeze CD)
Sips of Coffee/Le Matin (Cool like the Breeze CD
Cool Like the Breeze (Cool Like the Breeze CD)
Indian J.D. [from the back burner]
April 2010 Indie-Music.com
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Review of 2010 CD Release: Cool like the Breeze: Feelin' bad? The doctor orders Allison Scull and...Review of 2010 CD Release: Cool like the Breeze:
Feelin' bad? The doctor orders Allison Scull and Victor Martin. Pour yourself a glass of wine and catch the breezy, soulful and sweet harmonies, saxophone solos with a cool Latin jazz beat.
Right away, with "Esperanza" (hope, in Spanish), you'll be swept away with Allison's lovely voice, the impeccably produced instrumentation and positive messages in the lyrics.
Instrumental excellence also translates to tasteful production: nothing is ever overplayed. The sax solos and Allison's voice are the anchors, with excellent vocal support from Victor Martin. What needs to be out front is out front, what needs to be in the background is less audible. Very well done.
Each tune is sublimely relaxing, yet quite danceable. Soothing, yet energizing in a positive way. This is truly high quality feel-good music at its best. Just what the doctor ordered!
January 2010 Enjoy Magazine
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Allison & Victor Interest | January 2010 Story: Jim Dyar Photos: Kara Stewart THE TRANQUIL V...Allison & Victor
Interest | January 2010
Story: Jim Dyar
Photos: Kara Stewart
THE TRANQUIL VIBES OF ALLISON AND VICTOR
Allison Scull and Victor Martin are seated
at a table near the spot where they typically
perform at the Post Office Saloon in
downtown Redding. On this afternoon,
however, there’s not a guitar or saxophone in sight.
No microphones are set up to welcome
the duo into their usual position.
Still, bar patrons know who they are.
“They’re adored here in the North
State,” says Reggie Bordsen with a tone that
indicates that he means business. “Everybody
loves them. They really do.”
Bordsen raves on about Martin’s sax
playing, and calls Scull’s voice “angelic.”
Martin makes a wisecrack about paying
off fans to say the right things at the right
moments, then lets loose with a booming
infectious laugh. Just a bit later, another
musician walks into the pub and beams upon
seeing Martin and Scull. He hurries over for a
hug and pleasantries.
Martin and Scull tend to have this effect
on people. The same scene could have
unfolded in a lot of places they perform –
Napa, Weaverville, Grants Pass, Ore., Mount
Known (and booked) as simply “Allison
and Victor,” the duo has performed
consistently across the region since 2002.
They’ve played a vast array of venues and
events, from club shows to private parties
to winery open houses and everything else
you can think of. They’ve graced the stage
of the Cascade Theatre (opening for the
Blind Boys of Alabama), and performed in
an expanded format in August at the Trinity
Alps Performing Arts Center.
Their sound blends elements of folk, jazz,
blues, European and Latin music, all of
which translates into a laid-back, tranquil
vibe that tends to put people at ease.
“If you’re putting your heart and soul into
it, I think audiences pick up on that,” says
Martin. “When we look up and see people
smiling and having a good time, it’s feels like
we’re doing our part to bring a little peace
into the world. Live music is such a powerful
healing force. It’s medicine.”
December saw the duo release a new
album, “Cool Like the Breeze,” which
features six songs written by Scull (including
the title track), one by Martin, and two
others. The album was recorded by Ron
Davis (sound engineer for the Monterey
Jazz Festival) at his Wing and a Prayer
Production studio in Central Point, Ore.
Martin arranged all of the tunes and
the album features a variety of musicians,
including pianist Grant Levin, drummer
Tom Stamper, bassists Bill Vallaire and Glenn
Richman and percussionist Theresa McCoy.
“We’re excited to get the CD out and
share it with the world,” says Scull. “We were
able to get the fuller sound we were after
with a very talented crew of musicians and an
excellent recording engineer.”
Adds Martin: “We worked hard to expand
the sound, but keep the integrity we started
with. We broadened the scope. It’s richer and
A native of Delaware, Martin began
playing saxophone in junior high and
continued his studies through college at
the Wilmington School of Music. After
joining the Army, he toured in a rock band
while stationed in Fort Lewis, Wash. Over
the years, he’s performed with the likes of
Grammy-winner Joe Henderson, Kitty
Margolis and Curtis Salgado.
Scull, a twin, came from a Navy family and
spent her childhood living in either Belgium
or La Jolla, Calif. A choir class at the San
Diego School of Performing Arts helped
spur her passion for music.
In 1998, Martin saw Scull performing her
original tunes at the Nutglade Station in
Dunsmuir and was impressed. Later, Scull
asked Martin to play on her 1998 solo CD,
It wasn’t long before they began performing
together, with Scull’s songwriting and
acoustic guitar style making for a cohesive fit
with Martin’s jazz sensibilities. Martin also
sings harmony and lead on some tunes, and
“The cool thing about Vic is he’s openminded
enough to think of a singersongwriter
as a choice to do music with,”
Scull says. “We have so much fun when we
play. We love the audience interaction. Each
night, the energy of the crowd makes for a
In addition to the new album (available
at live shows and on their website –
allisonandvictor.com), the duo has also
released “Allison Scull and Victor Martin
Live” (2006) and “From the Back Burner”
(2002). They’ve shared the stage with the
likes of Craig Chaquico, Shana Morrison,
Archie Lee Hooker, Kelly Joe Phelps and
blues legend John Hammond.
When Scull and Martin travel to perform,
they often stay with fans who have grown
into close friends over the years. It’s a
continuation of the afternoon experience at
the Post Office Saloon.
“When we’re on the road, we feel little
bits of home,” Scull says. “We’ve built these
little networks with people, and these people
pretty much make it possible for us to do
“You find out that a lot of people out there
in the world are good,” adds Martin.
Or, perhaps it’s Martin and Scull who
continually bring out the good in people.
Either way, it continues to be a sweet sound.•
Catch their CD release party on
Friday, January 29th,
at Vintage Wine Bar,
1790 Market St. Redding, CA
and see them again at Vintage on Valentine's Day.
Sunday, February 14th.
April 2009 Musician Spotlight: unique fusion blend is duo's hallmark
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Kerri Regan, special to the Record Searchlight Thursday, April 16, 2009 Allison and Victor write a...Kerri Regan, special to the Record Searchlight
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Allison and Victor write about 70 percent of their own music and play throughout the north state.
Allison and Victor write about 70 percent of their own music and play throughout the north state.
Saturday, 8 to 10 p.m.
Club 49, 2959 E. Center St., Anderson
Allison Scull and Victor Martin play a unique blend of roots music — a fusion of jazz, folk, blues, a little funk, originals and some jazz standards. Allison also sings some in French.
Who is in your band?
Mostly we play as a duo where Allison plays guitar and sings and Victor plays sax and shaker and sings. For certain performances we have Rick Garrett on guitar and, most recently, Grant Levine on piano. We also can expand out with a rhythm section. We have had Joe Furnari, Mike Harris and Dave Barnett sit in on percussion at various times. And typically a guitar player, we have Bill Vallaire come in on bass.
What inspires you?
Victor: Music in general is an inspiration for me. I get inspired every time I play music. It is a beautiful thing in life to know your purpose, and mine is to play, be able to perform and educate. I’m inspired listening to the old jazz greats, such as Lester Young (Prez), Bird, Billie and reading about the challenges these early pioneers of music history had to overcome. Positive images, smiling faces, my family, especially my granddaughter Ariana, are also inspirations for me.
Allison: I feel very inspired to write songs when I am by a moving body of water, the ocean or a big, flowing river. I feel very inspired when I have written a new song, as I feel that it is my mission. Performing is also very inspiring for me, especially when those listening can bring you the best vibes while you are playing. That synergy becomes a part of the performance, and it makes each song a unique experience. I also get very inspired by other women singers, Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell. Some singers I have been listening to lately are Melody Gardot and Elizabeth Shepherd. Other things that inspire me: my family. Also, innocence, animals of all kinds and people who have the courage to tell the truth and to make changes really inspire me — and Mother Theresa.
Do you write your own songs?
About 70 percent of our music is original.
What do you like most about the music scene in the north state?
The music scene seems to be growing, with more places to play and support from the public. Of course, we appreciate our listeners and supporters because we could not do what we do without them. The Art Hop in Redding and similar events in Dunsmuir, Mt. Shasta, Weaverville and other places seem to be helping the cultural art scene to grow in all areas of the arts in tandem with music.
May 2009 It Takes Two
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Northern California artists perform acoustic sounds of jazz, folk, blues, Latin and more. Two Nor...Northern California artists perform acoustic sounds of jazz, folk, blues, Latin and more.
Two Northern California musicians already had great careers going. But their combined talents led them to a more creative level of musicianship, they say.
Victor Martin caught Allison Scull’s solo act while she was on tour in California and Oregon, in Dunsmuir, Calif., near Mount Shasta.
Later, Martin went to another of Scull’s performances. This time he got up on stage and started improvising with her on her original music.
“This is how the whole jazz-folk mix got started,” Scull said, explaining how their self-named duo, Allison Scull and Victor Martin, began. “It just kept growing from this initial folk-singer-songwriter plus jazz sax combo.”
Prior to their collaboration, Scull produced the CD “Allison St.” in 1998, and Martin recorded “Mind over Matter,” while in a rhythm & blues band, Sound Advice, in 1995.
In fact, Scull said her solo CD was her biggest accomplishment prior to forming the duo and Martin said his was performing with his band.
But they agree their best work has been together. They recorded their first CD, “From the Back Burner,” in 2002. A second one, “Allison Scull and Victor Martin LIVE,” came in 2006. They are currently in the studio with Monterey Jazz Festival recording engineer, Ron Davis.
Scull and Martin have shared the stage with Tuck and Patti, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Craig Chaquico, Shana Morrison, Archie Lee Hooker, Kelly Joe Phelps, blues legend John Hammond, Acoustic Alchemy and The Blind Boys of Alabama. They were selected to perform at The International Music World Series music awards in Hollywood.
Scull, a self-professed Navy brat, said she grew up in many places including Japan, Belgium and San Diego. She sings some of her songs in French, which she learned in Belgium. Her musical style was inspired by artists such as folk musician Joni Mitchell, jazz and soul artist Rickie Lee Jones, Sade, an English band that features elements of soul, jazz, R&B, soft rock, funk and adult contemporary, and Brazilian bossa-nova legend Astrud Gilberto.
“The rhythms and style of Brazilian music have always been close to my heart,” Scull said of Gilberto.
Martin, who grew up on the East Coast, said old school jazz has been his strongest influence. He also was influenced by Sade, as well as the music of Antonnio Carlos Jobim, who also was associated with the Brazilian bossa nova movement, and the smooth jazz sounds of Stan Getz.
Together they perform acoustic music incorporating original material and classic standards, blending the sounds of jazz, folk, Latin, blues and rhythm & blues.
“I strive for a unique style,” Scull said.
December 14, 2006, La Jolla Light, La Jolla, CA
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ARTS & CULTURE SECTION "La Jolla Guitarist Blends Tastes with East Coast Saxophonist" …Scull s...ARTS & CULTURE SECTION
"La Jolla Guitarist Blends Tastes with East Coast Saxophonist"
…Scull said her interest in music took off during her time at La Jolla High in the late 1980s, and her initial passion was folk music.
“I started playing guitar there, learning songs and doing duets and stuff at the high school,” Scull said. “I started off mostly with folk – Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens.”
Martin is an East Coast native who started out playing the trumpet in junior high, eventually moving on to tenor saxophone. He played with an Army band in the early 1970s, touring the West Coast and trying to drum up recruits in the first years of the all-volunteer Army.
Martin met Scull in 1999. She had already begun touring the West Coast extensively as a folk singer-guitarist, and Martin saw one of her performances in Northern California.
“Our meeting was by chance,” Martin said. “I’m from more of an R&B blues, jazz background, while she really loved the Brazilian and folk music. We were both looking for something different to do.”
Martin joined Scull for a performance shortly thereafter, putting on a show that was largely improvisation. The musical chemistry was evident right away. Martin said, though the performance featured a straight jazz sound that the duo would soon leave behind.
Martin said the duo’s personal musical tastes began to meld quickly. “It just merged. It was not something we tried to do,” Martin said. “We recorded a song and started performing and people liked the feeling.”
Scull describes their sound as a blend of jazz, folk, blues and Brazilian rhythms. Martin said the new sound he found with Scull was something he had been seeking for a long time.
“I was playing R&B and a lot of straight-ahead jazz and not so much Latin jazz, and I always wanted something that I could fit everything into,” he said. “You know, when you’re making soup, you want to get in all the good ingredients that you love.”
Improvisation still plays a role in the band’s performances, as well. Martin said he often finds direction for his saxophone off Scull’s singing. “As an improvisationist, I listen to the lyrical context,” he said. “She’s such a splendid songwriter, I just envision the lines she’s singing and paint phrases behind them.”
Scull said Martin has a talent for putting her words in proper context musically. “He puts landscapes behind them,” she said.
Scull said her lyrical focus has evolved since she first began plucking out folk ballads at La Jolla High. “(The lyrics) used to be more sad, but now it’s kind of just about hope,” she said. “About people coming together, individual people’s stories, views on people’s lives. We have a favorite called ‘Esperanza,’ which means hope and is just about the times when the things I wanted seemed pretty far away.”
Martin said the music reflects the good feelings coming from Scull’s words. “I think our sound is coming about at a time when people want simplicity and something beautiful with a nice message,” he said.
Allison Scull and Victor Martin will perform…
May 11, 2006, North County Times, San Diego, CA
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"Sharing a Creative Wavelength" Guitar and saxophone? Jazz, right? What if we add acoustic guitar..."Sharing a Creative Wavelength"
Guitar and saxophone? Jazz, right? What if we add acoustic guitar and vocals? Folk, maybe?
That is the challenge facing Allison Scull and Victor Martin ---- just what do you call their music?
"Magical" would be a good place to start. Martin's warm tenor sax provides a surprisingly complementary foil to Scull's folky guitar and vocals.
We"ve heard that combo before, of course: Al Stewart's mid-1970s hits "Year of the Cat" and "Time Passages" both featured saxophone solos, as did Gerry Rafferty"s "Baker Street."
But what makes this different is that Martin remains firmly ensconced in the jazz idiom in his playing; he's not playing R&B a la Clarence Clemons behind Bruce Springsteen ---- he's playing jazz saxophone as accompaniment to Scull"s folk guitar and singing.
And it works.
It"s not all Martin, obviously. The reason his jazz lines work so well with Scull's folk approach is that her guitar playing is lithe and complex, much more so than that of most folkies, and able to serve as foil for his sax passages.
Their second release, "Live," was recorded in front of an appreciative audience in Northern California and with the addition of percussion and bass to fill out the sound.
As with their 2002 debut, "From the Back Burner," "Live" finds the duo playing mostly original songs written by Scull with a few covers. And as with their debut, it is the original songs that provide the most memorable moments. There's nothing wrong about their covers of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," Bob Marley's "Waiting in Vain" or Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Corcovado" ---- but these are songs that have been covered to death.
It's on songs like "Esperanza," or "My Room," or "Sugar Mama" that we hear the magic that is Allison and Victor, that we hear the interplay between two musicians, one folk and one jazz, who share a creative wavelength.
Allison Scull and Victor Martin perform at Beaumont's in Bird Rock at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday
---- Jim Traegser, North County Times, San Diego, CA May 11, 2006
also listed on www.turbula.net
May 10, 2006, Siskiyou Source, Yreka, CA
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"There with Allison & Victor: A review of new Live CD" The first time you listen to Allison Scul..."There with Allison & Victor: A review of new Live CD"
The first time you listen to Allison Scull & Victor Martin Live you’re in for a treat. And the second time. And the third. And every time.
This CD is one of those timeless recordings that will withstand repeated playing for many, many years. Why? Because the two musicians who created it—and those musicians who’ve joined them—are just that: Musicians … skilled musicians for whom music is their life, a passion, a way of expressing themselves and not a fast road to fame and riches.
Allison Scull has a luminous, brilliant voice that ranges from earthy contralto to crystalline soprano effortlessly. In fact, all of her singing feels completely effortless, never forced, never strained.
Allison’s guitar playing is as skillful as her singing. It’s subtle and never overpowers her singing because—while Allison does play guitar—her voice is her instrument that she commands with great talent.
Although it appears Victor Martin plays the sax, he doesn’t really. He paints colorful soundscapes with it … using a few, clear brush strokes to create his musical images, not the muddied, frenetic onslaught of noise all too often associated with the saxophone.
The blending of Allison and Victor’s voices when they sing in duet is magical. Victor usually remains in the background for his vocals, his resonant voice providing true counterpoint (learned through years of jazz musicianship) for Allison’s lead.
But when Victor takes the vocal lead as on Bob Marley’s Waiting in Vain, he does so with authority and command … and with a phrasing that’s been uniquely shaped by his years of playing jazz saxophone.
Intimacy. That’s what is so compelling about this CD. Allison and Victor make you feel as if they’re singing just to you. But in spite of the quiet, reserved approach these two outstanding musicians take, the music never slips into becoming background music. There’s an urgency about the compositions and arrangements that captures the listener’s attention.
The play list features a near even blend of Allison’s original compositions and covers arranged by Victor. But the covers bring new sensibility and power, so you feel as if you’re hearing them for the first time.
But if you’re trying to pin a genre onto this CD … good luck.
There is a distinct Latin flavor, but the CD takes inspiration from all over the world. My Room vibrates with a definite Middle Eastern essence. And Allison’s rendition of Autumn Leaves makes you feel like you’re sitting in a dusky, smoky French cabaret, while Corcovado will whisk you to the nightclubs of Rio.
Jazz? Yes, some of the CD is jazz. Folk? Indeed, it’s folk as well. And it’s Latin, reggae, pop, and so much more.
But it isn’t like one song is folk and the next jazz. Every song combines elements of different genres seamlessly into a genre that’s uniquely Allison and Victor.
A CD of this quality comes about only from the effort of many people. Allison and Victor are joined by Bill Vallaire on bass, Joe Furnari on congas, and Vic’s longtime partner Rick Garrison on guitar for Corcovado and Autumn Leaves.
Ron Davis recorded the CD live at Rare Images in Mount Shasta, California. He also mixed and mastered the CD at A Wing and a Prayer Productions in Central Point, Oregon. Tyler Davis was assistant sound engineer.
The only problem with the CD is that it’s a live album … and I wasn’t able to be there to experience the excitement of the recording session in person. However, there is magic in this CD, a magic that makes you feel like you are there with Allison and Victor.
January 11, 2006, Record Searchlight, Redding, CA
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"Area Musicians Offer Rich Releases --Allison Scull & Victor Martin Live" Mount Shasta singer-so..."Area Musicians Offer Rich Releases --Allison Scull & Victor Martin Live"
Mount Shasta singer-songwriters Allison Scull and Victor Martin have been finding a blend of laid-back folk and jazz for years in the north state. They captured an inspired evening of their work in this new CD recorded at Rare Images Gallery in Mount Shasta.
Five of the nine tunes on the album are written by Scull, whose warm, sincere voice intertwines with Martin’s clear, tasty saxophone leads. Martin also shows his vocal prowess on somber-sweet version of Bob Marley’s "Waiting in Vain." Another highlight is the duo’s cover of Cyndi Lauper’s "Time After Time."
Of Scull’s songs, driving "My Room" soars for nearly seven minutes to become perhaps the CD’s strongest track. It’s followed by "Sugar Mama," a fun tune that reveals Scull and Martin’s happy banter with their audience.
Bassist Bill Vallaire, conga player Joe Furnari and guitarist Rick Garrett assist on the performance.
The record is an excellent grab for those who have enjoyed Scull and Martin’s live shows.
Februry 12, 2002, Chico News and Review, Chico, CA
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CD Review: From the Back Burner, Feb. 2002 Mt. Shasta-area musicians Allison Scull and Victor Marti...CD Review: From the Back Burner, Feb. 2002
Mt. Shasta-area musicians Allison Scull and Victor Martin have produced a nice little laid-back CD featuring jazzy, folky tunes. Most of the pieces are orginals, the exceptions being Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain" and John Prine's "Angel from Montgomery." Scull plays guitar with a rhythmic surety, and her voice is a solid alto with which she demonstrates a pleasant playfulness on the melodies...Martin's saxophone delivers nice warm phrases, and his harmony vocals add much depth to most of the pieces.
The American Muse, Winter 2004
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Allison Scull of Dunsmuir (an old railroad town at the upper arm of the Sacramento River Canyon) has...Allison Scull of Dunsmuir (an old railroad town at the upper arm of the Sacramento River Canyon) has been singing since she was a small child.
One listen to her debut CD, "Allison St." and you'll come to understand why. The songs on "Allison St." were written during an eight year span beginning in 1990 and recorded in Ashland, Oregon in 1998. "Allison St.", named after an actual street in Ashland where Scull went to college, is comprised of 10 songs-and are absolute gems. By combining different instruments (bouzooki, dhotar, congas, ragtime banjo, and saxophone) Scull has built a bridge between traditional and acoustic music, light rock and jazz. The results are truly startling. The music, skillfully guided by Scull's deft and delicate voice, calls to mind the young Mary Travers.
When Victor Martin began playing music as a youngster, he originally passed up the saxophone "because it had too many keys." He chose the trumpet instead (it has only three keys), but soon he found himself unable to play it. Discouraged, intent on giving up the study of music altogether, Victor was handed a saxophone by his mother who demanded he stay in the school band. Thirty years later, Martin has become one of the accomplished horn players in Northern California.
Martin is featured on "Allison St. " and has been playing with Scull for almost 3 years. Tall and muscular, he blends the physical stature of King Curtis with the range of the late, great session man Steve Douglas.
Aside from playing with Scull, Martin contributed regularly to the Mount Shasta R&B band "Sound Advice." He also played alongside Grammy award winning saxophonist Joe Henderson at the Sacramento River Jazz Festival in 1992, a concert he regards as a high-point in his career.
Typically Allison and Victor perform 1-2, 45 min sets.
Songs are mostly originals and creative versions of cover songs:
Syncopated, Sultry, Soulful Sounds
Time After Time
No Woman No Cry
Holiday at Home
Miss Celie's Blues
Panorama of Gold
Ain't No Sunshine
Holiday at Home
Sips of Coffee
There are no upcoming dates at this time.