Bill Allred has died at 87

Trombonist Bill Allred died on February 1st at 87. He was one of the largest figures of his generation in classic jazz and leaves a legacy in his still active son, trombonist John Allred. Bill Allred’s father had played the Streckfus Steamboat lines on the Mississippi, and his mother was born just outside New Orleans, so the music of the crescent city runs through generations of the family. Bill was born in Rock Island, Illinois, in 1936, and like many in his generation formed a Dixieland band while in High School. In 1954 he enlisted in the Navy, playing with Navy bands throughout his tenor. He was excited to be part of a big band for the first time. He returned to Rock Island, married, and had a career while continuing to gig. His big break came in 1970 when, out of 2500 auditioning musicians, he was chosen to be part of the Disney World Band on the park’s opening day in 1970.

Red Wood Coast

While at Disney he formed a trad band called The Reedy Creek Jazz Band. The band was noticed by Bob Snow, who recruited him to put together a show and band for his Rosie O’Grady’s Goodtime Jazz Emporium. The show would run for 25 years and Bill Allred toured the Rosie’s band internationally and to many festivals. In 1979, Bill formed the Continental Jazz Band for a Roaring Twenties club in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Auntie
Mame’s” later won the Carbonell Award for Best Cabaret Show in South Florida.

His career as a soloist and leader took him to festivals and jazz parties the world over, where he accompanied famous musicians spanning several generations.  His friendship with Wild Bill Davidson was especially important as a career guide. In 1990 he created Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band which was active on the jazz circuit for 30 years. He was a vital part of the classic jazz scene in Florida, supporting local clubs and societies. As a businessman, he booked musicians for conventions throughout Florida and the Southeast.

Joe Bebco is the Associate Editor of The Syncopated Times and Webmaster of SyncopatedTimes.com

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