|Decades:||1980s 1990s 2000s|
12 October 1966, Washington, DC, USA. When he was aged one, Allens parents moved to Los Angeles and it was there that he began playing music, but at that time chose the accordion and later the piano. When he was 11 years old the family moved again, this time to Rhode Island and there, at junior high school, he began playing clarinet and finally the tenor saxophone, in which instrument he decided to specialize. Encouraged by his father, Morry Allen, a school friend of Paul Gonsalves who had played drums during the swing era with the Boston-based George Johnson band, he listened to jazz records. These were mainly by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. Later, at Rutgers University, he was encouraged to develop his jazz playing in the formulaic John Coltrane mode but resisted, preferring instead to follow the path of the tenor players he had heard on record: Gonsalves, Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins.
By the time...