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Released November 04, 2004


HATTIESBURG -Drummer/composer 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 Lab II.

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 "God Cares."

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 jazz artists.

"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


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November 23, 2004 4:37 PM