Carl allen, drums
Born on April 25, 1961, Allen grew up on gospel, R&B, and funk, but later turned to jazz after hearing a recording by the legendary saxophonist Benny Carter. During his early years of study he studied with instructor Roy Sneider and band director Robert Siemele. His first hometown gigs were with sax greats Sonny Stitt and James Moody. Allen joined trumpeter Freddie Hubbard a year before his graduation, served as his Musical Director for eight years and recorded several recordings with the trumpeter including Double Take and Life Flight. Allen also played with Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Benny Golson, Jennifer Holliday, J.J. Johnson, Rickie Lee Jones, Sammy Davis Jr., Branford Marsalis, Kenny Garrett, Lena Horne, Ruth Brown, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Bobby
Hutcherson, Mike Stern, Nellie McKay, Terence Blanchard, Phil Woods, Benny Green, Cyrus Chestnut, Joe Henderson, Billy Childs and many others. Allen’s phenomenal sideman discography also includes Jackie McLean (Dynasty), Donald Harrison (Indian Blues, Noveau Swing), Donald Byrd (A City
Called Heaven), and Art Farmer (The Company I Keep).
With over 200 recordings to his credit, the gifted Milwaukee-born, New York-based drummer, sideman, bandleader, entrepreneur, and educator, Carl Allen’s profound and
propulsive percolations provided soulful and syncopated support for over three decades. Piccadilly Square (Alfa Records and Timeless Records) was Allen’s first CD as leader, released in 1989, followed by The Dark Side of Dewey (Alfa Records and Evidence), The Pursuer (Atlantic), Testimonial (Atlantic), and Get Ready, his 2007 Mack Avenue gospel/Motown accented debut release with co-leader, bassist Rodney Whitaker followed
up by Work to Do (Mack Avenue Records) featuring Kirk Whalum. In May of 2014 Carl completed a 6 year tenure serving as the Artistic Director of Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School in New York City.
Allen is also an accomplished businessman. He co-founded Big Apple Productions in 1988 with saxophonist Vincent Herring, produced several recordings for several Japanese labels with future stars Roy Hargrove and Nicholas Payton, and created The Art of Elvin, a tribute band dedicated to his two drum influences, Art Blakey and Elvin Jones. Allen has also produced recordings for pianist Eric Reed, Dewey Redman. Pharoah Sanders, Freddie Hubbard, Kris Bowers and guitarist Lage Lund, the winner of the 2005 Thelonious Monk
International Monk Competition and many others totaling nearly 70 credits as a producer.
Carl Allen’s multifaceted career provides the perfect template for what a modern musician should be. As Sid Gribetz of Jazz Times wrote, “more than just another fine drummer, Carl Allen has it all together as a bandleader, businessman, and producer,
becoming a force in today’s jazz world.” Allen maintains an exhaustive schedule of recording, touring, producing and
teaching. He remains active as a sideman with Christian McBride and Inside Straight, Benny Golson and others. As a leader most recently leading The Carl Allen Quartet and
“The Art of Elvin”.