Monday, August 05, 2019

Take 5 With Henry 'Red' Allen

One of my favorite jazz trumpeters of the swing era is Henry 'Red' Allen. Son of a legendary Brass Band leader, he first came to notice as part of Luis Russell's Band with whom he made some memorable recordings. He was also in Fletcher Henderson's Big Band in the thirties and later formed a small group similar to Louis Jordan. In the fifties, until his passing in 1967, he played predominantly in a trad jazz vein.

Here he is with Luis Russell's Big band where he is featured on trumpet on "Jersey Lightning." Pops Foster is on bass and J.C. Higginbotham on trombone.

Here is a fabulous recording with Red Allen's trumpet the highlight along with Coleman Hawkins in "Queer Notions" from Fletcher Henderson.

Later in the Mills Rhythm Band, they recorded this feature for Red Allen, "Ride Red Ride," which he would record numerous times including with Coleman Hawkins on a 1957 RCA Victor album.

The first time I heard Red Allen was listening to Phil Schaap over WKCR on Saturday Nights when he opened with "The Crawl." This was simply a stunning jump blues and we have a soundie of them performing this.

Finally, we find him in a swing-trad vein from the classic television show "The Sound of Jazz" performing "Rosetta." Besides Coleman Hawkins and Pee Wee Russell, there is Vic Dickenson on trombone, Rex Stewart on cornet, Jo Jones on drums, Danny Barker on guitar, Milt Hinton on bass and Nat Pierce on piano.

I could easily have chosen many more tunes by him. There is such joy in Red Allen's playing and his music is well worth sampling.

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