The pursuit of knowledge, experience, and ever-present swing is a recurring theme in the life of drummer/composer and Milwaukee native Carl Allen. It's a theme that began to take shape when, as a teenager, he performed with such greats as Sonny Stitt and James Moody and it's a theme to which he held fast as his musical quest took him to The University of Wisconsin - Green Bay (1979-81) and New Jersey's William Patterson College (1981-83). While at William Patterson, he pursued his life-long dream — the drum chair in trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's band. He got the position in 1982 and remained with Hubbard for eight years - also serving as the trumpeter's musical director and road manager.
Allen says, "my ultimate goal is to get to a level like Art Blakey, Art Taylor, Elvin Jones and Billy Higgins and these cats who, every time they sit down behind a set of drums it's swinging. The power of swing is something else and once I get to that level everything else falls into place."
In a true Messenger (as in Art Blakey) state of mind, Allen began to extend Blakey's ideals into his efforts outside of Hubbard's band. In 1988, Allen co-founded Big Apple Productions (with altoist Vincent Herring), which through its production of several albums for labels in Japan (Alfa, King, Venus, Keystone Music International and others), introduced now rising stars like Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton and Cyrus Chestnut.
Allen maintains an exhaustive schedule of recording and touring. He remains active as a leader (most recently leading Carl Allen & The Art of Elvin - a musical tribute to Art Blakey and Elvin Jones), Carl Allen's Pilgrimage, New Spirit and as an in-demand sideman (recent recordings with Eric Reed, Vincent Herring, and many others).
February 14, 2018
Trumpeter Joe Mazzaferro Releases Debut CD "In Terms Of..." with Jeff...
February 16, 2015
EastWest JazzScene Concert: Carl Allen, John Beasley, Eric Revis,...
October 12, 2010
Carl Allen/Rodney Whitaker Project To Perform Music From Their Mack...
August 30, 2009
Recent Jazz Session Podcasts: Carl Allen, Terence Blanchard, Gene...
August 10, 2009
The Jazz Session #70: Carl Allen
August 02, 2009
B.J. Jansen Interviewed Carl Allen on the Jazz Life
February 26, 2008
The Carl Allen-Rodney Whitaker Project - This Friday! Rubin Museum-NYC
June 07, 2007
Carl Allen and Rodney Whitaker CD Release Party Monday, June 11th at...
March 29, 2007
Carl Allen & New Spirit Friday & Saturday April 6 & 7 @ Sweet Rhythm
January 04, 2007
Carl Allen & New Spirit Friday & Saturday January 5th & 6th @ Sweet...