Firehouse 12  45 Crown Street  New Haven, CT 06510  203.785.0468

Ben Allison


Performer's Website

Ben Allison is a "visionary composer, adventurous improviser, and strong organizational force on the New York City jazz scene, [and] has emerged as a rising star over the past decade" (JazzTimes). With his groups Peace Pipe, Ben Allison Quartet, Medicine Wheel, the Kush Trio, and the Herbie Nichols Project (which he co-leads with pianist Frank Kimbrough) Ben has toured extensively throughout the US, Canada, Europe, and Brazil winning fans and building new audiences with an adventurous yet accessible sound and a flair for the unexpected.

Hailed as "one of today's best young jazz musicians" by the Boston Globe, Ben has released seven albums of original music - Cowboy Justice (2006), Buzz (2004), Peace Pipe (2002), Riding the Nuclear Tiger (2001), Third Eye (1999), and Medicine Wheel (1998) on Palmetto Records, and his 1996 debut Seven Arrows on the Koch Jazz label - all of which showcase Ben's forward-thinking vision as a producer, composer, arranger, and bassist, and his hands-on approach to his craft.

Recently cited in the "Bassist of the Year" category of the 2005 Downbeat Readers' Poll, Ben's work has not gone unnoticed by the press. Since 2003 Ben has been routinely listed in the Downbeat Critics' Poll in an extremely wide variety of rising star categories including "Bassist of the Year," "Album of the Year," "Composer of the Year," "Acoustic Group of the Year," "Arranger of the Year," and "Jazz Artist of the Year," which is a testament to his dedication to his music.

"I see the the whole process - from assembling a band, writing and work-shopping the music, recording and mastering the album, doing the artwork and writing the notes, and then touring the project - to be all part of the process of musical expression," says Ben. "I enjoy every step as they all demand a certain kind of positive energy. And I get to collaborate with a wide range of very creative people."

Ben's album Buzz, was #1 on the CMJ National Jazz radio charts for 6 consecutive weeks and remained in the top 20 for over five months. His previous three albums, achieved similar radio success, being among the most played albums of the years in which they were released. and have been named as among the best of the year by publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, Jazz Times, Jazz Journalists Association, Downbeat Critics Poll, All About Jazz, Coda (Canada), and Jazz Review (UK), among many others.

At the age of twenty-five, he formed the Jazz Composers Collective - a musician-run, non-profit organization based in New York City that is dedicated to constructing an environment where artists can exercise their ideals of creating and risking through the development and exploration of new music. As the Artistic Director and a Composer-in-Residence of the Jazz Composers Collective, Ben has produced or co-produced over 100 concerts and special events, including the Collective's annual concert series (which ran for eleven seasons), national and international tours by Collective artists, an on-going Collective residency at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA, NYC), and an annual "Jazz Composers Collective Festival" at the Jazz Standard which has drawn international attention as "a mainstay of New York City's musical life" (New Yorker).

As a member of the Collective Ben has received commissioning, performing, and recording grants from Chamber Music America, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Foundation, Meet the Composer, and the American Composers Forum.

Along with pianist Frank Kimbrough, Ben co-leads the Herbie Nichols Project, a performing and researching entity premiered by the Jazz Composers Collective in 1994, dedicated to the music of the brilliant pianist-composer. The group has recorded three CDs, Strange City (Palmetto Records, 2001), and Dr. Cyclops' Dream and Love Is Proximity (both on Soul Note Records, 1999 and 1997). Strange City topped the jazz radio charts (CMJ) peaking at #1, and was picked as "Best Album" in the 2002 Downbeat Critics' Poll. The group was also chosen as "Best Acoustic Group" and "Best Acoustic Group - TDWR" in the same poll.

Born in 1966 in New Haven, Connecticut, Ben has performed the world over with musicians ranging from oudist Ara Dinkjian to saxophonist Lee Konitz to legendary performance artist Joey Arias. He has appeared on over 25 albums by various artists and has written music for film, national television and radio, including the theme for the National Public Radio (NPR) show "On the Media" and the score for Two Days, a play written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Donald Margulies.

Firehouse 12 Performances

Ben Allison Trio Friday, May 13, 2016, 10:00p
Ben Allison Trio Friday, March 21, 2014, 10:00p
Ben Allison and Man Size Safe Friday, May 29, 2009, 10:00p
Ben Allison Quartet SOLD OUT Friday, December 1, 2006, 10:00p

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