Carl Allen will join Jazz Lab Bands I and II at The University of
Southern Mississippi in concert Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Bennett
Auditorium. The evening's program has a lineup that is sure to please
the jazz connoisseur.
Larry Panella, associate professor of music and director
of jazz studies at Southern Miss, said the guest performer is coming
to Southern Miss to "deliver a dose of that hard-swinging musical
drive that puts a smile on my students' faces and raises their playing
to higher levels."
Jazz Lab Bands I and II along with the Southern Miss
Jazz Sextet will perform on the evening's program. Nathan Shiver,
graduate assistant for the jazz studies program, will direct Jazz
Panella, an accomplished jazz player and educator
in his own right, sings high praises of Allen. "Carl has performed
and recorded with some of the greatest jazz artists in the world,"
Panella said. "We at Southern Miss have been fortunate to have
world-renowned guest artists visit our campus, notably in the classical
programs, like the symphony. Now it is the jazz program's turn to
present the best in the jazz arena."
The Jazz Lab I program will include performances with
Allen on Jerome Richardson's "Groove Merchant," and Duke
Ellington's "Caravan." The band will also perform a composition,
"Mambo Jumbo," by Southern Miss jazz alumnus Pete Wehner,
who is now a graduate student at the University of North Texas.
Allen will also join the Jazz Sextet to perform a
tribute piece to the late great jazz drummer Elvin Jones, "A
Portrait of Elvin," another tribute to pianist and composer
Bobby Timmons, "The Soulful Mr. Timmons," and Eric Reed's
Jazz Lab Band II will perform Frank Mantooth's arrangement
of "Imagination," Sammy Nestico's "Magic Flea,"
and Lennie Niehaus' "Word of Mouth," among other selections.
The pursuit of knowledge, experience, and ever-present
swing is a recurring theme in the life of Allen, a drummer, composer,
clinician, lecturer, producer and consultant. A native of Milwaukee,
Wis., Allen adopted this theme of swing as a teenager performing
with artists such as Sonny Stitt and James Moody. The love affair
with swing has lasted until today.
"My ultimate goal is to get to a level like Art
Blakey, Art Taylor, Elvin Jones, and Billy Higgins, and these cats
who, every time they sit down behind a set of drums, it's swinging,"
Allen explained. "The power of swing is something else, and
once I get to that level, everything else falls into place."
The director of small ensembles in the jazz department
at The Juilliard School in New York and an adjunct faculty member
at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pa., Allen is able
to share his love of jazz, swing in particular, with up-and-coming
"The students in the jazz program work very hard
to develop their improvisation and ensemble performing skills,"
Panella said. "A visit from a musician and teacher such as
Carl Allen is a huge boost to their efforts and gives them an experience
they won't forget in their own careers. I'm happy that my students
will have a chance to talk shop with him and to perform with him
live on stage."
Allen began his playing career in 1977 when he had
the opportunity to play with Stitt and Red Holloway-at the age of
16. He played with Moody in 1979 and joined trumpeter Freddie Hubbard
in 1982. Allen remained with Hubbard's band for eight years as drummer,
then musical director and road manager.
A physical, hard-swinging drummer, Allen has played
and recorded with some of the greats: Woody Shaw, Lena Horne, Dizzy
Gillespie, Branford Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, and Rickie Lee Jones,
to name a few.
Tickets are $6 for general admission and $3 for senior
citizens and children under 12. Southern Miss faculty, staff and
students will be admitted free with valid university ID. For tickets,
call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425
or order online at www.usm.edu/tickets.