5/8/2005 02:26:00 AM|||Geoffrey Balasoglou|||Henry "Red" Allen, was born on the 7th January 1908 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He began his career in the south, playing with his father Henry Allen Snr and then toured briefly King Oliver's Dixie Syncopators. However it was not until he moved to New York that he was able to record under his own name.



In 1929 "Red" began to record for the Victor record label, these recording with his "New York Orchestra" are among his finest. These recording feature Allen in his early 20s, experimenting with an unmatched sense of complex rhythmic freedom that would have an influence in the playing of new generations to come.

Don Ellis, a modern experimental jazz trumpeter, in a 1965 interview with Downbeat Magazine, commented that Henry "Red" Allen was "the most avant-garde trumpeter in New York".

Not only was "Red" a superb and inventive trumpeter, he was also a unique jazz composer. A highlight for me, is the sparseness of some of his compositions, for example "Patrol Wagon Blues" begins with a dreamy 15 second vibraphone solo, while "Feeling Drowsy" features a beautiful introduction that features a call and response motive from the vibes and the "horns". It should also be noted that Henry "Red" Allen's jazz music was deeply rooted in the blues, and some of his recordings from his 1929 sessions featured the blues singer Victoria Spivey, who Peter has already posted about in the past. Henry "Red" Allen was unfortunately overshadowed by Louis Armstrong during his career, however I think he was as good a trumpeter as Armstrong himself.

Henry "Red" Allen - Biff'ly Blues

Henry "Red" Allen - Patrol Wagon Blues

Henry "Red" Allen - Feeling Drowsy


Hope You Enjoy The Tracks,
Geoffrey Balasoglou|||111553662687734640|||Henry "Red" Allen5/8/2005 11:09:51 AM|||toph|||I said it last night, but I'll say it again. Thanks for introducing me to this guy, Geoff. Biff'ly Blues especially impresses me. His playing sounds way ahead of its time. I need to track down an album sometime.5/10/2005 01:11:12 PM|||Jay|||Great stuff, I especially love Biff'ly Blues.5/11/2005 12:18:32 PM|||Anonymous|||VCS-- Very Cool Stuff...

Red Allen is another one that I've read more about than actually listened too. These selections were great.

Is that Red on vocals on "Patrol Wagon?" There are some hip skat-isms and melismas in there. Who is the guitar player?

The last one ("Feeling Drowsy") was a little difficult to follow, form-wise...

GJ