Pete Allen’s 45th Anniversary Album

Pete Allen's 45th Anniversary AlbumPete Allen has been leading bands for 45 years and, although the personnel of his sextet has changed many times, his brand of joyful and freewheeling jazz has stayed consistent. Allen is a very skilled clarinetist, alto and soprano saxophonist who also plays banjo and takes occasional vocals. Early on he worked with his father Bernie Allen’s group and with Rod Mason.

The British musician first put together his own band in Oct. 1978 and that has been his main outlet ever since. The Pete Allen Jazz Band has visited the United States several times in addition to playing all around the United Kingdom and Europe and they have recorded close to 20 albums including several for the Upbeat label.

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45th Anniversary Album is an excellent showcase for Allen and his musicians. The group (with trumpeter Chris Hodgkins, trombonist Roger Marks, pianist-keyboardist James Clemas, bassist Dave Hanratty, and drummer Jim Newton) performs spirited versions of vintage warhorses (including “Just A Little While To Stay Here,” “At The Darktown Strutter’s Ball,” and “Hindustan”) along with some originals in the idiom plus a few obscurities and offbeat choices (including Johnny Griffin’s “The JAMFS Are Coming”). There are vocals by Allen on six of the 15 tunes that, in Eddie Condon’s words, “don’t hurt anyone,” and a feature for Marks (“Sally”) plus two for the leader. Pete Allen displays a very individual and expressive style (particularly on clarinet), his band avoids playing the obvious, and the group’s ensembles are full of spirit and fun.

Trad jazz fans will enjoy this set.

Pete Allen • 45th Anniversary Album
Upbeat URCD 337

UpBeat Records

Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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