Singer-songwriters are rare in the world of jazz, and even more so when the songwriter is a drummer. “It’s clear to me how everything I’ve done in my life has lead me to where I am right now in my music career,” says Allen. “I spent several years writing songs in other genres including folk, pop, rock, country and alternative. Those experiences definitely influenced my jazz writing. I want to write catchy, fun, interesting tunes that people will remember – tunes that other artists might also want to perform.”
“I grew up in a small town in Nebraska. Not exactly a hotbed of jazz. But I got hooked on jazz drumming after my drum instructor took me to a live performance by jazz drumming legend, Buddy Rich,” says Allen.
Brad Allen spent several years as a musician in the U.S. Army Band before settling into the Kansas City music scene. “After I saw The Army Blues, which was the Army’s top touring jazz band, I decided I could go into the military and play jazz. It was a good experience for a while. Eventually though, I felt like I wanted to get out of the military and move to a city where I could play with world class jazz players,” says Allen.
Along with performing in Kansas City area jazz clubs, Allen is quickly building an international audience online through the use of social media. Brad creates performance videos, many of which show him playing all the instruments himself. “I started playing piano as a child,” says Allen. “I also spent years studying and playing the drums. I took voice lessons along the way and taught myself to play the guitar. And through the pandemic I’ve had lots of extra time on my hands. So along with writing songs I’ve been able to further develop things like my piano playing.”
Some of Brad’s influences include Harry Connick Jr., Mose Allison, Nat King Cole, Buddy Rich, Max Roach and The Beatles.
Please accept this enthusiastic letter of recommendation on behalf of Brad Allen, who has performed at
North Kansas City Public Library twice in the last couple of years: at a winter jazz concert, and at our
annual Veterans Day celebration. Brad is enormously talented and connects well with audiences, and it
was a treat to see him perform. More importantly, our patrons really enjoyed his work, and many asked
have him back. (And we will! Brad is slated for a January event here at NKCPL, which we’re looking
to very much.)” Amy Brown Adult Programs Coordinator, North Kansas City Public Library
Willing to teach