“I have spent a lot of time searching for what I feel like “home” for me in a stick and a stick company. I have found that. I am pleased to announce that I am now endorsing Vater drumsticks, brushes and mallets. I feel blessed and honoured to join an esteemed roster of amazing drummers and percussionist and to be embraced to the family in a manner that makes me feel welcomed and appreciated.” –
With over 200 recordings to his credit, Carl Allen’s profound and propulsive percolations provided soulful and syncopated support for nearly three decades.
Allen grew up on gospel, R&B, and funk, but later turned to jazz after hearing an LP by the legendary saxophonist Benny Carter. He studied with drum instructor Roy Sneider and band director Robert Siemele. Allen studied at The University of Wisconsin at Green, later transferring to William Patterson College in New Jersey, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Studies and Performance.
Allen joined trumpeter Freddie Hubbard a year before his graduation, served as his Musical Director for eight years, and recorded several recordings with the trumpeter including Double Take and Life Flight. Allen also played with Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Benny Golson, Jennifer Holliday, J.J. Johnson, Rickie Lee Jones, Sammy Davis Jr., Branford Marsalis, Kenny Garrett, Lena Horne, Ruth Brown, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson, Mike Stern, Nellie McKay, Terence Blanchard, Phil Woods, Benny Green, Cyrus Chestnut, Joe Henderson, Billy Childs and many others. Allen’s phenomenal sideman discography also includes Jackie McLean (Dynasty), Donald Harrison (Indian Blues, Noveau Swing), Donald Byrd (A City Called Heaven), and Art Farmer (The Company I Keep).
“Education has always been part of my mission Allen says. Art Blakey taught me the importance of nurturing the next generation of musicians. Every generation needs someone to help them get to the next level and this is what I am hoping to do”. In May of 2012 Allen received an honorary doctorate from Snow College in Ephraim, Utah in Humane Letters.
Allen maintains an exhaustive schedule of recording, touring and teaching. He remains active as a sideman with Christian McBride and Inside Straight, Benny Golson and others. As a leader most recently leading The Carl Allen Quartet as well as The Art of Elvin, a tribute band dedicated to his two drum influences, Art Blakey and Elvin Jones was started after the passing of Elvin Jones in 2004.