In 1926 he left New Orleans to play with Sidney Desvigne’s Southern Syncopaters on the riverboat Island Queen which ran between St. Louis and Cincinnati. In 1927 he joined King Oliver’s Dixie Syncopators while they were on tour in St. Louis. The tour didn’t go well for Oliver, and the band kind of fell to pieces in New York, but Red made his first recordings while there with Clarence Williams.
Allen returned to New Orleans and played with Fats Pichon and then joined Fate Marable on the Strekfus riverboat Capitol where he would remain until 1928.
After being offered a Victor recording contract and jobs by both Duke Ellington and Luis Russell, he returned to New York. He made several recordings under his own name in 1929 for Victor, before joining Luis Russell and his Orchestra, staying with them until 1933. He then joined the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, replacing Rex Stewart as the group’s featured soloist.
During this time period Allen made several popular recordings with Coleman Hawkins, where he sang and played trumpet. Starting in 1934 he joined Mills Blue Rhythm Band until he left them in 1937 to rejoin Luis Russell’s band which was fronted by Louis Armstrong at that time.
He stayed with them until 1940 when he began leading small groups in New York nightclubs and played on records by Jelly Roll Morton, and Sidney Bechet. He continued to record his own records, as well as tour with Billie Holiday, and others throughout the 1940s.
In the 1950s and 1960s Red would continue to lead an active career recording with his old friends George Lewis, Coleman Hawkins, and with Kid Ory. Red continued playing up until his death in 1966 from pancreatic cancer.
|Henry Allen and his Orchestra||Henry Allen – Coleman Hawkins and their Orchestra|
|Red Allen and his Orchestra||Henry Allen and His New York Orchestra|
|Ride Red Ride; The Life Of Henry “Red” Allen by John Chilton, Continuum, 2000|
Redhotjazz.com was a pioneering website during the "Information wants to be Free" era of the 1990s. In that spirit we are recovering the lost data from the now defunct site and sharing it with you.
Most of the music in the archive is in the form of MP3s hosted on Archive.org or the French servers of Jazz-on-line.com where this music is all in the public domain.
Files unavailable from those sources we host ourselves. They were made from original 78 RPM records in the hands of private collectors in the 1990s who contributed to the original redhotjazz.com. They were hosted as .ra files originally and we have converted them into the more modern MP3 format. They are of inferior quality to what is available commercially and are intended for reference purposes only. In some cases a Real Audio (.ra) file from Archive.org will download. Don't be scared! Those files will play in many music programs, but not Windows Media Player.