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Allan Vaché and Friends

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Biography

When Allan Vaché plays swing on his clarinet, the smooth sounds invite comparisons to a young Benny Goodman, which isn't surprising since the King of Swing was one of Vaché's chief influences. Vaché can be downright blistering as well as warm and inviting and his graceful playing makes even complicated pieces seem easy. Critics also compare him to jazz clarinetist Peanuts Hucko. Vaché evinced an early aptitude for music, which he pursued while at college during the 1970s. He became a student of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra's David Dworkin. He also studied with traditional jazz clarinetist Kenny Davern. Early on he performed professionally with a number of noted musicians, among them Lionel Hampton, Bobby Hackett, Gene Krupa, Pee Wee Erwin, Clark Terry, Dick Hyman, Dick Wellstood, Max Kaminsky, Bob Wilber, Cliff Leeman, and Wild Bill Davison. He also often played with his brother, flügelhorn and cornet player Warren Vaché Jr. In 1974, he hit Broadway in a production of Doctor Jazz. By 1975, Vaché was a member of the Jim Cullum Jazz Band, which was based in San Antonio, TX. He appeared on nine of the group's albums, among them the CBS Masterworks recording of Porgy and Bess. Playing portions of that score, Vaché and the group took to the stages of Mexico City's Cervantino Arts Festival, Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center, and other stops. Vaché performed a number of times at San Antonio's World Series of Jazz with Cullum's band, a venue that also hosted jazz luminaries such as Goodman. In 1987, he and the group played Carnegie Hall. Vaché's other appearances included A Prairie Home Companion and Riverwalk, Live From the Landing on radio and television's Austin City Limits. The clarinetist branched out into films in 1998 when two numbers that he played were featured in The Newton Boys. Both songs came from the Shootin' the Agate album released by the Jim Cullum Jazz Band. Vaché left the band to perform solo during the early '90s. In 1993, he relocated to Orlando, FL, where he appeared at Rosie O'Grady's and Walt Disney World, among other venues. He has recorded for Arbors Records, Audiophile, and Jazzology, both as a solo artist and in conjunction with others. He put out a dozen albums for the German label Nagel-Heyer, half of which saw him in the role of leader with bands that include the Florida All-Stars, Swingtet, and the Big Four. Vaché's father is bass player Warren Vaché Sr. During the clarinetist's youth, the family resided in Rahway, NJ. He graduated from Jersey City State College in 1975. ~ Linda Seida