b. 23 November 1953, Newbury, Berkshire, England. Although Allen has chosen to follow the well-trodden path of other UK jazz traditionalists such as Freddie Randall and Kenny Ball, he has managed to maintain originality through a combination of musical flair and determination. His fluid, bluesy clarinet style is complemented by his use of alto and soprano saxophones, both of which allow him to augment the traditional dixieland line-up to good effect. Displaying a sound business sense (on a par with that of Chris Barber), Allen has led a succession of enthusiastic young musicians, prepared to turn their backs on the new trends followed by their contemporaries. Unlike many latter-day UK reed players, who have chosen to model themselves upon John Coltrane, Allen himself has followed the lineage exemplified by Edmond Hall. Largely by dint of his expressive playing and total commitment, Allen’s decision to follow a traditional style has in no way limited his musical development and he continues to play an interesting and entertaining brand of jazz.
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