598 views

Tribute To Henry "Red" Allen This Week On Riverwalk Jazz

Published:
Jim Cullum Jr. This week, Riverwalk Jazz pays tribute to Henry "Red" Allen
Henry
Henry "Red" Allen
1906 - 1967
trumpet
, one of the last great trumpeters to come out of New Orleans in the 1920s.

The program is distributed in the US by Public Radio International, on Sirius/XM satellite radio and can be streamed on-demand from the Riverwalk Jazz website. You can also drop in on a continuous stream of shows at the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound.

Off the bandstand, trumpeter Henry ‘Red’ Allen was reserved—as a performer, he was anything but. His solos were inventive, his vocals entertaining, and he could charm audiences out of their seats.

‘Red’ spoke in a soft New Orleans drawl, and had a daredevil edge to his trumpet style. He recorded with Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton
1890 - 1941
piano
, King Oliver and Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
1901 - 1971
trumpet
. He played the trumpet in popular New York jazz orchestras and led his own prestigious groups.

He learned to play from his father, a longshoreman by day who led his own well-respected brass band. Honing his skills as a teenager, playing fish fries and lawn parties, Allen Jr. graduated to working aboard Mississippi riverboats where he played the steam calliope above deck when he wasn’t on the bandstand.

Leery of being stranded on the road, Allen finally took the plunge in 1927 and headed out on tour with one of his heroes—King Oliver. Talented beyond his years but homesick in New York, he returned to New Orleans and work on the riverboats. Then in 1929 he accepted an offer to join the Luis Russell
Luis Russell
b.1902
composer/conductor
Orchestra in New York, where he shared the bandstand with New Orleans compatriots Paul Barbarin
Paul Barbarin
1899 - 1969
drums
, Albert Nicholas and Pops Foster
Pops Foster
Pops Foster
1892 - 1969
bass, acoustic
.

From the 1930s onward, Red was an important presence in New York. He created his fiery, distinctive trumpet style by combining tradition and experimentation. His playing was unlike anyone else, and his solos were often startlingly innovative and unpredictable.

Red Allen was a star soloist with Fletcher Henderson
Fletcher Henderson
Fletcher Henderson
1897 - 1952
arranger
, the Mills Blue Rhythm Band—with whom he recorded his signature hit, “Ride, Red Ride”—and appeared with Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
1909 - 1986
clarinet
, Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
1915 - 1959
vocalist
and Teddy Wilson
Teddy Wilson
Teddy Wilson
1912 - 1986
piano
. During this period, his recorded work was highly regarded and widely influential. In 1932 he made a series of records, now known and highly prized as The Rhythmakers, backing vocalist Billy Banks. The band was a unique multi-racial collection of hot jazz players that included Pee Wee Russell
Pee Wee Russell
Pee Wee Russell
b.1906
clarinet
, Tommy Dorsey
Tommy Dorsey
Tommy Dorsey
1905 - 1956
trombone
, Fats Waller
Fats Waller
Fats Waller
1904 - 1943
piano
, Pops Foster, Eddie Condon
Eddie Condon
Eddie Condon
1905 - 1973
guitar
and Zutty Singleton
Zutty Singleton
b.1898
drums
. Hot tracks from The Rhythmakers sessions include, “Who’s Sorry Now?” and “I Would Do Anything for You,” featuring in our show this week the gifted guest trumpet player Duke Heitger
Duke Heitger
b.1968
.

Throughout his long career, Allen continued to record under his own name. Particularly noteworthy was a 1933 collaboration with saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, which produced popular hot records such as, “Ain’t ‘Cha Got Music.”

Allen re-joined Luis Russell in 1937 to play in the trumpet section behind Louis Armstrong. In the 1940s, Allen’s time was divided between club engagements in New York, Boston and Chicago, appearing often with Billie Holiday, Sidney Bechet
Sidney Bechet
Sidney Bechet
1897 - 1959
sax, soprano
and Art Tatum
Art Tatum
Art Tatum
1909 - 1956
piano
.

Beginning in the mid-50s, for almost a decade, the sober, gentlemanly trumpeter played hot jazz for a wild scene of well-lubricated college students at New York’s Central Plaza. The action took place in a large ballroom on the top floor of a five-story building on Manhattan’s lower East Side. Allen shared the bandstand with jazz legends such as Willie "The Lion" Smith
Willie
Willie "The Lion" Smith
1897 - 1973
piano
, Ralph Sutton
Ralph Sutton
b.1922
and Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
1904 - 1969
sax, tenor
—in non-stop jam sessions.

Red also had a long standing gig leading his own All-Stars at the Metropole Cafe near Times Square; and he renewed his recording with Coleman Hawkins. In 1957 Red’s group was featured in the legendary CBS-TV show, The Sound of Jazz. Then in 1959 Allen toured Europe with Kid Ory
Kid Ory
Kid Ory
1886 - 1973
trombone
to widespread acclaim from fans and critics.

A tribute concert, held in New York when Red Allen died in 1967 included many of his friends and colleagues—Coleman Hawkins, J.C. Higginbotham, Bud Freeman
Bud Freeman
Bud Freeman
1906 - 1991
sax, tenor
, Earl Hines
Earl Hines
Earl Hines
1903 - 1983
piano
, Clark Terry
Clark Terry
Clark Terry
b.1920
trumpet
Pee Wee Russell, Bobby Hackett
Bobby Hackett
Bobby Hackett
1915 - 1976
trumpet
and others.

Asked about the future of jazz in a 1966 interview, Red Allen said he had no fears about jazz continuing because new generations of musicians will always be trying out new things. “But,” he said, “I only hope they combine their innovations with listening to players who have gone before.”


Continue Reading...


Visit Website

comments powered by Disqus
Sponsor: Summit Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

News Search


or search site with Google