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Henry Red Allen

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Album Review

Although trumpeter Red Allen gets first billing, he is actually the leader on only four of the 15 selections included on this LP. However, Allen is a strong force in the recordings of James P. Johnson (two sessions from 1939 that also feature singer Anna Robinson, trombonist J.C. Higginbottham and the tenor of Gene Sedric) and in the backup group (along with Higginbottham and clarinetist Edmond Hall) that accompanies blues singer Ida Cox. The final numbers ("K.K. Boogie," the two-part "Sometimes I'm Happy" and "Ol' Man River") find Allen in top form with his regular band of 1941. The music throughout this collector's LP is excellent, but most of it is currently available elsewhere.


Born: 07 January 1908 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

One of the last great New Orleans trumpeters to emerge during the post-Louis Armstrong era, Henry "Red" Allen has long been overshadowed by Satch and his successors but actually had a fresh new approach of his own to offer. Allen sounded modern no matter what the setting and the rhythmic freedom he achieved made his solos consistently unpredictable and exciting. The son of Henry Allen, Sr. (a famous New Orleans brass band leader), he learned trumpet early on and played in his father's parade band...
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