Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Carl Allen

Some friends of mine recently returned from the JEN conference in Atlanta and raved about, among many other things, Carl Allen's drum clinic entitled "The Shape of the Ride Cymbal". Carl is a great player that I've admired for a long time and he is also an excellent teacher and clinician (who also currently serves as the department head of the Jazz department at Juilliard). In fact, during some trips to New York about ten years ago I spent some time studying with Carl and absorbing his wisdom. To this day I still think about the important concepts about swing and music he laid on me.

The first time I heard him play live was during the summer of 2001 at the Montreal Jazz festival with Michael and Randy Brecker, pianist David Kikoski and bassist Peter Washington in a group labeled as "The Acoustic Brecker Brothers". It was a great band and a shame that they didn't record together (although I think there are a few bootlegs out there...)

Here's a nice shot of Carl in action with the reformed Jazztet with Benny Golson, Art Farmer and Curtis Fuller. Dig his solo that starts around the 1:25 mark:

And here's Carl with Christian McBride's exciting band "Inside Straight" featuring the awesome vibraphone playing of Warren Wolf on vibes:

Allen was also a member of the Benny Green Trio during the 90s and recorded some great albums with Benny including "Greens" and "Testifyin'!: Live at the Village Vanguard". Here's a good one to give you an idea as to what that trio was all about:

Carl has recorded extensively as a sideman and as a leader, however my personal favorite album that he appears on is a Rodney Whitaker date on the Criss Cross label entitled "The Brooklyn Sessions: Ballads and Blues":

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