Today marks what would be the 100th anniversary of the birth of trumpeter Henry “Red” Allen.
One of the more difficult things, no doubt, of being a trumpet player at the same time as Louis Armstrong is that no matter how good you might be, you might seemingly always be in a shadow. This could be why Red isn’t necessarily a household name, despite being a wonderful performer.
Red was always in good company, performing seemingly nonstop from the time he was eight until he passed away at age 59. Not only sharing the company of the likes of Fletcher Henderson, King Oliver, and Coleman Hawkins, he always managed to bring a wonderful, modern sound to whatever group he was playing with no matter what the era.
His big band solos often became transcribed and written into supplemental charts. He also had a distinct, earthy singing voice which he featured from time to time.
A wonderful musician, watch a fantastic performance of Henry “Red” Allen doing St. James Infirmary below.