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Basking in the spotlight has never been the way of jazz instrumentalists; they know how much they owe the band. But for jazz vocalists, the opposite tends to be true. Female singers, in particular, tend to be seen as center-stage divas more than an integral part of the group.

Not so with Karrin Allyson. Before the Kansas City native’s show at Tokyo’s Musashino Swing Hall on May 30, she admitted that she takes on the traditional mantle of singer almost reluctantly. “It’s hard for a singer. You can’t walk down the street to a club and just sit in as part of the band. You’re out front all the time!”

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