Hailed by the New York Times as "a tenor saxophonist with an enigmatic, elegant and hard-driving style,"
Hailed by the New York Times as "a tenor saxophonist with an enigmatic, elegant and hard-driving style," JD Allen is a bright rising light on today’s international jazz scene. His unique and compelling voice on the instrument – the result of a patient and painstaking confrontation with the fundamentals of the art - has recently earned Allen a blaze of critical attention signaling his ascension to the upper ranks of the contemporary jazz world.
Originally from Detroit, Allen’s apprenticeship, anchored by his lengthy tenure with Betty Carter, occurred largely in New York, where he worked with legends Lester Bowie, George Cables, Ron Carter, Louis Hayes, Frank Foster Big Band, Winard Harper, Butch Morris, David Murray, Wallace Roney. He added his voice to that of his contemporaries as well; Cindy Blackman, Eric Revis, Orrin Evans, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dave Douglas, Jeremy Pelt, Gerald Cleaver and Nigel Kennedy continue to call upon him to augr tenor sment their musical visions
JD's debut album, In Search Of... (Red Records, 1999), won him the Best New Artist award in Italy, and reviewers praised him for his compositions and conceptual boldness.
His second release, Pharoah’s Children (Criss Cross, 2002), again won him accolades for its thoughtfulness, maturity, and adventurousness.
In 2008 Allen began an association with Sunnyside Records, which released I AM – I AM featuring Gregg August (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) and garnered rave reviews from the New York Times (Ben Ratliff’s Playlist), Time Out NY (music cover), All About Jazz, Jazzman, Jazz Wise and Downbeat. That year Allen was awarded Rising Star Tenor Saxophone in the 56th Annual Downbeat Critics Poll and appeared on NPR's Jazz Perspectives, WNYC's Soundcheck and WKCR's Musician's Show.
In 2009, Allen released his follow-up Sunnyside recording, Shine! which seems to have detonated the trail of musical gunpowder he had long been putting down. Word-of-mouth praise for the album led Lorraine Gordon, owner of the famed and historic Village Vanguard to invite him and his trio for a weeklong stint. The engagement was met with relentless coverage from the cultural press: Time Out New York selected his engagement as its top musical attraction for that week; he appeared on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show; his work was again discussed by Ben Ratliff on jazz journalist Josh Jackson’s radio show; and the New York Times reviewed his residency, commending Allen for his trio’s “fearless approach to a formidable tradition.”
The Victory! album, released in 2011, received a four star rating in Down Beat and was ranked as the third best jazz album of 2011 by NPR. JD Allen won downbeats 2011 rising star award for saxophone. The Matador and The Bull (2012 savant records)is the latest recording by Jd Allen.
My Jazz Story
I love Jazz because it gives me a chance to express my hopes,dreams and passions with in a breathing form.
I was first exposed to jazz at the age of twelve, i was told that it was called progressive music.
I met John Gilmore and Brandford Marsalis when I was Fifteen, both musicians had a lasting effect on my playing.
The best show I ever attended was Sun Ra and his Arkestra, it showed me that having a relationship with your craft enables you to speak in any language.
The first jazz record I bought was John Coltrane's first recording as a leader on riverside (John Coltrane).
My advice to new listeners is to listen to the greats. There's a reason why great music is timeless. If great music is your standard the truth will always present its self as evidence.