Vibraphonist Charlie Allen hails from New Orleans, where he recorded with the fine clarinetist, composer, and bandleader Alvin Batiste. He eventually relocated to Washington, D.C., and is a member of that city's popular swing revival band named Air Mail Special. The band's name is adopted from a popular Benny Goodman number, and the playing styles of individual members also draw heavily from the personalities of original swing era musicians. Allen does an excellent recreation of the late vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, and has also created an entertaining as well as educational part of the show in which he explains the origins and development of his instrument. Allen spent four years in the Air Force drumming in various touring big bands and handling a range of jazz styles as well as some rock & roll.
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