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Brian Allen

Makes music, films, objects and books

About Me

Piano, pencil and paper were Brian Allen’s first instruments. He uses them, plus a camera and trombone, to create his own multimedia world of film, books and music.

He has performed his films at Austin Experimental Film Festival, Theertha Festival (Sri Lanka), Webster University Film Series (St. Louis), Ftarri (Tokyo), Fonoteca Nacional (Mexico City), Cruce (Madrid), LangstrassenKultur (Zurich), Brooks Museum Film Series (Memphis), UCLA, American Trombone Workshop and The Outpost (Albuquerque). He has made six films, each with an acoompanying book and album, and three documentaries.

Brian studied with jazz and creative music legends Roswell Rudd and Milford Graves and attended the Banff Institute, meeting and forming “Brainkiller” with Jacob Koller, releasing two albums on RareNoise Records. He taught piano for children in Sri Lanka and Tokyo and has given trombone/improvisation workshops at over 100 universities and public schools including Harvard, Berklee, Bruckner Jazz Institute, UNAM, Prague & Luzern Jazz Conservatory. He has a MM in Composition, a BA in Trombone Performance from Texas Tech University and is an artist for Edwards Instruments since 2003.

In 2020 Jacob and Brian published Piano Bop 1-3, a series of piano methods for children. A collaborative work, they feature Brian's illustrations, design, editing, trombone and compositions. In 2021 they released the online version, complete with over 600 animated videos created by Brian.

He has received artist residencies for music and visual art in Morocco (Dar Slimane), Paris (Cite des Arts), Sapporo (Tenjinyama) and Houston (DiverseWorks) and grants from Meet the Composer. Brian has performed with other composer/improvisers such as Dave Ballou, Anthony Braxton, Gerald Cleaver, Mark Dresser, Ellery Eskelin, Corey Fogel, Dominique Leone, Tony Malaby, Reuben Radding, Tom Rainey and Nate Wooley at Roulette, The Stone, Porgy & Bess (Vienna), Les Siestes Electroniques (Toulouse), Gezmataz (Genova), Vive Latino, Festival Aural (Mexico City), Bang On A Can Marathon, College of Santa Fe Electroacoustic Festival, Carnegie Hall and CBGB's.

Since 2007, he has been a part of the creative music and arts scenes of Mexico City, working with Fabián Avila, Aáron Cruz, Benjamín Garcia, Tom Kessler, Gustavo Nandayapa, Natalia Pérez, Gabriel Puentes, Jorge Servin, Nur Slim and running Cafe Aurora with poet Guadalupe Galván. They co-wrote “Vals”, a bilingual book of poetry published by editorial Praxis, and self-publish a series of collaborative books, calendars and other ephemera. Brian also contributed to “Músicos en la Ciudad de México”, a collection of essays by over 40 musicians based in Mexico City.

”Trombonist Brian Allen brings a burst of energy to contemporary creative music” - All About Jazz New York

”A sly pop influence comes through in his melodies, which owe as much to Cobain as they do Coltrane (though they may have the most spiritual connection to Monk)” - Pitchfork

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