Carl Allen (drummer)

Carl Allen (born April 25, 1961) is an American jazz drummer.

Allen attended William Paterson University.[1]

He has worked with a wide variety of musicians, including Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean,[2] George Coleman,[3] Phil Woods,[4] the Benny Green Trio and Rickie Lee Jones.

It was with Green that Allen met bassist Christian McBride. The two have teamed up frequently, working for many combos of big name leaders. McBride recruited Allen for his band, Christian McBride & Inside Straight. Allen is that quintet's drummer for both its first recording, Kinda Brown, and its road tours.

In 1988 Allen and Vincent Herring founded Big Apple Productions, which produced several albums featuring young jazz performers.

He joined the faculty of The Juilliard School in 2001, and became the Artistic Director of Jazz Studies in 2008.[5] He was replaced as director by Wynton Marsalis in 2013, and left Juilliard at the end of the academic year.[6]

In 2011, Allen appeared as himself in two episodes of the HBO series Tremé, in a studio recording scene in New York City.

In 2014, he formed his own group, The Art of Elvin to pay tribute to Art Blakey and Elvin Jones. The band debuted at the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) conference in Indianapolis, Indiana with Allen on drums, Freddie Hendrix (trumpet), Tivon Pennicott (tenor sax), Xavier Davis (piano), Yasushi Nakamura (bass).[7]


As leader

  • The Pursuer (Atlantic, 1994)
  • Testimonial (Atlantic, 1995)


  • Live from the Detroit Jazz Festival 2013 (Mack Avenue, 2014)

Co-led with Rodney Whitaker

  • Get Ready (Mack Avenue, 2007)
  • Work to Do (Mack Avenue, 2009)

With Manhattan Project

  • Dreamboat (Alfa Jazz/Timeless , 2000)
  • Piccadilly Square (Alfa Jazz/Timeless )
  • The Dark Side of Dewey (Alfa Jazz/Evidence , 1996)
  • Echoes of Our Heroes (Alfa Jazz Japan, 1996)
  • We Remember Cannonball (Alfa Jazz Japan, 1997)

As sideman

With Arkadia Jazz All Stars

  • Thank You, Joe!

With Don Braden

With Donald Brown

With Donald Byrd

With Cyrus Chestnut

  • The Nutman Speaks (Alfa Jazz )
  • The Nutman Speaks Again (Alfa Jazz , 2003)
  • Another Direction (Alfa Jazz )

With Art Farmer

With Dan Faulk

  • Focusing In (Criss Cross Jazz, 1992)

With Ricky Ford

With Benny Golson

With the Benny Green Trio

  • Blue Notes (Toshiba-EMI Japan)
  • That's Right (Blue Note)
  • Testifying (Blue Note)

With Vincent Herring

With Freddie Hubbard

With Jackie McLean

  • Dynasty (Triloka)
  • Rites of Passage (Triloka)
  • The J-Mac Attack (Birdology/Verve )

With Dewey Redman

With Woody Shaw

With Phil Woods

With Eliane Elias

With Christian McBride


  1. Panken, Ted. "An Overdue Ovation for Carl Allen; Back with a vengeance, though he hardly left", JazzTimes, November 30, 2016. Accessed February 22, 2018. "The process began in October 1981, not long after Allen had matriculated at William Paterson University in New Jersey. He was there at the urging of drummer Mel Lewis, who befriended him during a four-day residency at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, during Allen’s freshman year."
  2. Yanow, Scott. "Carl Allen: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
  3. Yanow, Scott. "Pursuer: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
  4. Dryden, Ken. "Alto Summit: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
  5. "Music Division - Jazz Studies: Carl Allen". Juilliard School. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
  6. Wynton Marsalis to Lead Jazz Studies at Juilliard - New York Times, 10.28.2013
  7. Biography -
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