Academic Master


Harlem Renaissance

Early Life

Allen Henry Red was born on January 7, 1908, in New Orleans, Louisiana and died on April 17, 1967, in New York. He was an American trumpeter and vocalist, head of the orchestra and small ensembles (traditional jazz, swing, mainstream). He was son and pupil of the famous New Orleans cornettist and trumpeter Henry Allen the Elder (1877-1952), who at the end of the last century headed a Negro brass band, one of the best “marching bands” of the archaic period. From the earliest age of “Red” Allen studied trumpet playing with his father, played with his orchestra, as well as in other famous jazz bands of the old time era – in EXCELSIOR BAND, George Lewis (1923), Eddie Jackson (1924), John Handy (1925), in the river bands of Feitha Marabel (1926, 1928-29) and King Oliver (since 1927), where he was succeeded by Louis Armstrong.

II. Fame

Henry “Red” Allen is a musician of two epochs in jazz history who took the baton directly from the founders of the New Orleans classical style and remained faithful to the spirit of traditional Negro hot jazz during the swing boom, when the wave of mass enthusiasm for commercialized popular entertainment in the United States almost led to the oblivion of the creative contribution of Negro jazzmen-old timers to the national culture of America. At the turn of the 1930’s and 1940’s, Allen took an active part in the revival movement of classical jazz (the so-called rivayvil-jazz, or “New Orleans renaissance”). At the same time, he is one of the creators of the swing style and the typical composition of the swing big band, which (along with F. Henderson, Duke Ellington, Benny Carter and “Count” Basie), the priority of Negro jazzmen, despite the tough competition from the prosperous white dance orchestras, striving to establish their primacy in this field. Probably, not without its influence (or due to mutual influences), such early jazz stars as the trumpeters “King” Oliver and Louis Armstrong, the trombonists “Kid” Ori and Jay Higginbotham, the clarinetists “Barney” Bigard, Sidney Besche, ” Pee Wee Russell, etc. In the game on the trumpet, Allen showed himself as a born soloist, a virtuoso instrumentalist with an open, strong tone, a propensity for traditional hot intonation and temperamental drive, blues coloring of the sound, variation ornamentation of the melody, and also to the one coming from New -orlesian il melodic counterpoint in collective improvisation. He is especially close to Armstrong in his performing style (but differs from him with more plastic legato technique), from swing musicians to Roy Eldridge. It is inventive in the application of various timbre and rhythmo-dynamic effects, trills, glissando, delayed and advanced accents, in attacks and sound clipping. In singing, he focuses on the tradition of blues vocals with elements of recitation, avoids mannerisms and excessive sentimentality.

III. Adulthood

With Oliver, Allen performed in St. Louis and Chicago, first visited New York. Here he moved to the orchestra of Louis Russell, who worked until 1933 (later, also for a short time, in 1937), then on tour with Ori’s Kid, after which he accepted an invitation to Fletcher Henderson’s big band (1933-34), in the next two he played with Lucky Millinder (MILLS BLUE RHYTHM BAND), in 1937-40 with L. Armstrong. As an adult in future, he mainly directed his own ensembles (starting with a sextet) and a big band (NEW YORK CITY ORCHESTRA), with whom he performed swing music and jazz in Dixieland style. In the late 1950’s and 1960’s, he made a number of tours (including European ones, in particular, with “Kid” Ori in 1959). He married a lady from a prestigious family and they had children.

In 1927 he went to New York, where he was thrown by the well known band of King Oliver and where he recorded the main chronicle works with Clarence Williams. After a short come back to New Orleans to work with the groups of Fate Marable and Fats Pichon, he was offered an agreement with Victor Records and came back to New York, where he joined the band of Luis Russell, frequented in those years by Louis Armstrong, who had in this manner the chance to know. His music was positively affected by Louis Armstrong, yet numerous pundits remembered him as an individual ability, to such an extent that his accounts were an extraordinary thought. From 1929 to 1934 he turned into an acknowledged soloist of Luis Russell’s Orchestra. In the mean time, in 1931, he made a progression of accounts with Don Redman.

In 1934 he joined the Fletcher Henderson’s Orchestra and the Lucky Millinder band until 1937, when he came back to the Luis Russell ensemble, until the episode of the Second World War. In the next years, Red Allen kept on recording with surely understood artists, for example, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton, Victoria Spivey, Billie Holiday and Benny Goodman. Around 1950 he began coordinating his own band and for a long time ventured to every part of the United States far and wide. His vocation was an awesome lift when he won the Down Beat Award, both in the conventional jazz classification and in current jazz, mirroring his incredible melodic adaptability. In December 1957 he turned into a jazz star on account of some of his appearances on the amazing “Sound of Jazz” network show, considered in the United States extraordinary compared to other jazz TV projects ever. In 1959 he joined the Kid Ory Band, with whom he made his first visit in Europe. He kept on coordinating his own band and perform different visits in USA and Europe until his demise on April 17, 1967 in New York. He was determined to have pancreatic malignancy in late 1966 and subsequent to experiencing surgery, he made a last voyage through England, which finished a month and a half before his passing, on April 17, 1967, in New York City. He was made due by his dowager, Pearly May, and a child, Henry Allen III.

IV. Effects on others

Red Allen’s trumpet style has been portrayed, by a few faultfinders, as the first to completely fuse the advancements of Louis Armstrong and to build up an accentuation on phrasing. Allen’s chronicles gotten much good consideration. His adaptability is appeared by his triumphant of Down Beat grants in both the conventional jazz and the cutting edge jazz classes.




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