Faculty RecitalKris Allen, jazz saxophone"The Music of Mulgrew Miller"
The Williams College Department of Music presents jazz saxophonist Kris Allen leading a quartet on Thursday, October 17 at 8 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the Williams College campus. This free event is open to the public.
Kris Allen’s debut concert at Williams is titled The Music of Mulgrew Miller, featuring the work of recently deceased and much missed jazz pianist Mulgrew Miller. Mr. Miller is known as a composer and performer, and he worked for long stretches with many jazz stars including Betty Carter, Woody Shaw, Mercer Ellington, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and the Tony Williams Quintet. After having a productive life of performance around the globe and being featured on hundreds of albums, Mulgrew Miller has joined the pantheon of jazz greats. This milestone moved Kris Allen to create a program reflecting Mr. Miller’s unique contribution to jazz. Recognizing the recent loss of other giants of jazz, Mr. Allen also presents works of pianist Marian McPartland and of Cedar Walton. Joining Kris Allen in this tribute are two of his colleagues at Williams, bassist Avery Sharpe and drummer Conor Meehan. The talented pianist Jen Allen rounds out this quartet.
About Kris Allen
Kris Allen has performed with many living legends of jazz music, including Illinois Jacquet, Gerald Wilson, Curtis Fuller, Andy Gonzales, and Curtis Fuller, as well as with modern stars such as Helen Sung, Winard Harper, Jeremy Pelt, Andy Laverne, the Mingus Dynasty, and Mario Pavone. For several years Kris co-led the innovative Panamerican Trio with percussionist Rogerio Boccato and the late bassist Charles Flores. Kris has enjoyed a long-term musical association across several projects with the Curtis Brothers and has been a member of Kendick Oliver’s New Life Jazz Orchestra for over a decade. He can also be found frequently appearing in groups led by pianists Noah Baerman, Earl Macdonald, or his wife, Jen Allen. Kris currently serves as the Artistic Director of the Hartford Jazz Society New Directions Ensemble, and he is a founding member of the collaborative Jazz Samaritan Alliance. Kris Allen is a Lyell B. Clay Artist in Residence in Jazz and Lecturer in Music, and is the director of the Williams Jazz Ensemble. He has taught at Trinity College, the Hartt School, Southern Connecticut State University, and the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts prior to joining the Williams community. Allen has also been a senior teaching artist in the many educational programs of Litchfield Performing Arts since 2001.
About Jen Allen
Jen Allen is a jazz pianist whose debut solo album Pieces of Myself was released in June 2011. The album features Dave Baron on bass, Lee Fish on drums, Kris Allen on alto, Josh Evans on trumpet and Andrew Renfroe on guitar. A native of Foxboro, Massachusetts, Allen was originally a cellist who started playing jazz piano as a favor to her high school band director, and it was then that she found her true artistic voice. She received a Performing Arts scholarship to pursue her Bachelors in Music performance at the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at The Hartt School. As a student, Allen was able to study under Jackie McLean, Steve Davis, and Andy LaVerne. In May 2011, Allen was chosen as one of only eight pianists from around the world to participate in the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Workshop at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
About Avery Sharpe
Avery Sharpe is Artist Associate in Jazz Bass, and Jazz Coach at Williams. Mr. Sharpe has performed with such notables as Archie Shepp and Art Blakey. In 1980, Avery Sharpe auditioned with McCoy Tyner and won a spot in the pianist’s group. He worked with Tyner almost continuously for 20 years, playing hundreds of live gigs and appearing on more than 20 records. Sharpe’s credits also include sideman stints with many other jazz greats, from Dizzy Gillespie to Pat Metheny, as well as leading his own groups.
About Conor Meehan
Conor Meehan is an Artist Associate in Jazz Drums at Williams College. He is a versatile and sought-after drummer and pandeiro player. While still working on his bachelor’s degree, he began touring with blues guitarist Albert Cummings, hip-hop group Heiruspecs, and singer-songwriter Sonya Kitchell. Mr. Meehan has performed in Japan, Europe, Brazil and all over the U.S. including the 2007 Bonnaroo Music Festival. He has also appeared on several TV shows, including “Late Night with David Letterman.”