Newbury-born traditional clarinettist (and occasional saxophonist) Pete Allen – who is also an Honorary Citizen of New Orleans for ‘his services to British jazz and tourism’ – is celebrating 45 Years of band leading.
The Pete Allen Jazz Band has a brand new 45th Anniversary album out on Upbeat (URCD337) and is showcasing its release at venues around the UK. Judging by the performances on the album, the audience is in for an entertaining mix of New Orleans-style flag-wavers and standard songs plus less obviously, modern jazz pieces all given a resounding Allen-style Dixieland-Mainstream makeover.
Pete is one of the UK’s finest traditional clarinettists, his slightly husky sound suggesting an awareness of Edmond Hall, for so long the clarinet mainstay of the Louis Armstrong All-Stars. He’ll also offer some booting interludes on baritone saxophone and produce the occasional burst on the banjo, plus plenty of vocals. His band members are all accomplished traditionalists who revel in the classic New Orleans ensemble style, while happy to cast their collective beady eye on such unlikely fare as Johnny Griffin’s lively ‘The Jamfs Are Coming’ as featured on the album. The band includes trombonist Roger Marks, trumpeter Chris Hodgkins, James Clemas, piano, Dave Hanratty, bass, Jim Newton, drummer, Tom "Spats" Langham, banjo and guitar and Trevor Whiting, clarinet and saxes.
With a jazz pedigree of this calibre – 45 years in the making – it should be quite a night!