CCM Jazz Professor Steve Allee.

Famed Pianist, Composer, Educator and ‘Bob and Tom Show’ Music Director Steve Allee Joins CCM’s Jazz Faculty

CCM Dean Peter Landgren has announced the appointment of Steve Allee to the position of Assistant Professor of Music in CCM’s Department of Jazz Studies. Allee’s appointment becomes effective on August 15, 2015.

Steve Allee,  Assistant Professor of Music in CCM's Department of Jazz Studies.

Steve Allee, Assistant Professor of Music in CCM’s Department of Jazz Studies.

A pianist, composer and arranger, Allee is a veteran of more than 35 years on the music scene, working principally in jazz as a music educator, as well as writing and performing for syndicated radio programs, network television and motion pictures. All of his career facets have blended into a distinct musical that has a very strong visual, almost cinematic flavor because of his skill in capturing or reinforcing important moods or visual elements inspire his projects.

As a pianist, Allee maintains a successful recording career. His big band album, Downtown Blues, with bassist John Clayton and drummer John Von Ohlen, was nominated for a Grammy award. Allee’s first national solo album, The Magic Hour, released on Noteworthy Records, landed at number 14 on the Gavin national radio poll. Allee is currently pianist with the Rufus Reid Trio, their album Out Front, on the Montema label, hit the number one spot on the Jazz Week radio polls. Their second album, Hues Of A Different Blue, is currently number nine on the national chart.

Allee has also collaborated with bassist Bill Moring and drummer Tim Horner as the Steve Allee Trio, releasing two albums: Colors and Dragonfly; saxophonists Rich Perry and Rob Dixon also appear on select tracks from these albums. In his liner notes for Dragonfly, jazz journalist Ken Franckling noted that “From start to finish, Dragonfly makes it clear that this is a band in which each of the players finds their interaction to be exhilarating… this trio is all about making the most of the journey – as the best jazz should.”

A native son and longtime resident of Indianapolis, Indiana, Allee was fortunate to grow up in the hometown of many jazz greats, including brothers Wes, Buddy and Monk Montgomery, Slide Hampton, J.J. Johnson, David Baker, Freddie Hubbard and Melvin Rhyne, among others. His own playing style has a touch, sparkling clarity and improvisational variations reminiscent of the late Bill Evans, as well as a very strong blues influence that Allee credits to his exposure to Buddy Montgomery and Horace Silver.

Allee began his professional career at age 19 with the Buddy Rich Orchestra before he was drafted into military service during the Vietnam War. Through the years, he has worked with a veritable “Who’s Who” of major jazz artists across the United States and abroad. Recent performances include the Rufus Reid Trio, the Randy Brecker Quartet, David “Fathead” Newman, John Clayton and the Rich Perry Quartet. He also leads a big band that performs regularly in Indianapolis.

Allee’s writing credits include soundtracks for New York In The Fifties, a film inspired by the Dan Wakefield book of the same title; the score for the film was performed live at Switzerland’s acclaimed Montreux Jazz Festival. He also scored Something To Cheer About, a documentary starring NBA and Cincinnati Bearcat legend Oscar Robertson that focused on the 1954-55 Crispus Attucks Tigers basketball team, an Indianapolis team (on which Robertson played) that was the first all-black high school team to ever win a state championship – and the team that changed the face of basketball forever.

His composition endeavors also extend to the classical concert stage. He was commissioned to write and conduct a four-movement work for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. He was also commissioned by renowned drummer, percussionist and educator Steve Houghton to write a percussion Concerto for Wind Ensemble; the piece, Passages, was premiered February 25, 2011 in Washington DC by the US Army ‘Pershing’s Own’ Wind Ensemble.

Steve Allee’s performance and network television writing credits with Los Angeles Post Music include music for Chicago Hope, Mad About You, Martha Stewart, Friends, Nash Bridges, NYPD Blue, Dharma and Greg and Touched by an Angel.

Currently, Allee serves music director for the nationally syndicated, Indianapolis-based comedy-variety radio show The Bob and Tom Show, with which he has co-produced more than 50 albums over the past 25 years. Furthermore, in 2001, he was co-director and arranger for a J.J. Johnson Tribute Concert featuring trombonist Slide Hampton at the Indy Jazz Fest.

As an educator, Allee has given workshops and master classes at many college and university music programs over the years, including the CCM, University of Louisville, University of Illinois, University of Missouri, Morehead State University, Purdue University, Butler University, University of Indianapolis, Indiana State University, Drury College and Florida International University. He has also been a frequent collaborator with famed jazz pedagogue Jamey Aebersold, teaching at Abersold’s Summer Jazz Workshops for 14 years and recording 20 albums for the Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Long educational series including Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, Lee Morgan, J.J. Johnson and Eddie Harris volumes.

You can learn even more about Steve Allee by visiting www.steveallee.com. Please join us in welcoming him to the CCM family!

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CCM Alumnus Adam Wagner Named Executive Director of Twilight Theatre

CCM alumnus Adam Wagner.

CCM alumnus Adam Wagner.

We are happy to report that CCM alumnus Adam Wagner (BFA, 2005) has been named executive director of the new Twilight Theatre and Community Auditorium in Greensburg, Kansas. The four million dollar venue for live entertainment and state-of-the-art moviegoing is designed to provide access to affordable quality performing arts entertainment, educational opportunities and cultural experiences – fostering a positive impact for the City of Greensburg and Kiowa County.

“Adam was the unanimous choice for the position,” Twilight Theatre board member Gary Goodman stated in an official announcement. “He brings youth, experience, passion, creativity and an endless amount of energy to Greensburg and the Twilight Theatre.”

“I am honored, humbled and incredibly energized to join the Twilight team,” Wagner says. “Greensburg runs on wind energy and positive energy, and I’m eager to help my new community celebrate its accomplishments and bring top-notch entertainment for all of Southwest Kansas to enjoy.”

You can learn more about Wagner’s appointment courtesy of the Pratt Tribune.

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Four Current and Former CCM Students Featured in Fort Wayne Philharmonic’s Holiday Pops Concert

From left, Blaine Krauss, Kelsey Crismon, Christine Cornish Smith and Nathaniel Irvin will perform at the “Holiday Pops.”

From left, Blaine Krauss, Kelsey Crismon, Christine Cornish Smith and Nathaniel Irvin will perform at the “Holiday Pops.”

Keiara Carr recently profiled CCM alumna Kelsey Crismon (BFA, 2013) for Fort Wayne’s Journal Gazette.

Crismon will be joined by fellow Musical Theatre alumna Christine Cornish Smith (BFA, 2013) and current Musical Theatre majors Blaine Krauss and Nathaniel Irvin for Fort Wayne Philharmonic’s annual “Holiday Pops” concert on Dec. 20 and 21.

Speaking of her ability to jump from her recent work in New York to this holiday concert with classmates she has not seen in nearly a year, Crismon  says, “That’s what CCM teaches you – it teaches you how to multitask so that you’re able to give everything you do 100 percent.”

Read the entire profile online courtesy of the Journal Gazette.

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Cincinnati Enquirer’s Winter Arts Guide Highlights Upcoming Performances at CCM

The Cincinnati Enquirer published its Winter Arts Guide over the weekend, and the compendium was absolutely filled with upcoming CCM happenings!

Janelle Gelfand highlighted CCM’s movie music-themed concert (featuring Hollywood film composer and distinguished UC alumnus Randy Edelman) on Jan. 27, our celebration of Giuseppe Verdi’s 200th birthday (with two performances of his stunning Requiem setting) on Feb. 1 and 2, the CCM Philharmonia’s participation in the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Music Society‘s annual Chinese New Year Concert on Feb. 16, CCM Opera d’arte’s free presentation of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro Feb. 22 – 24 and our monumental Mahler Marathon on March 2!

  • You can view the entire guide to upcoming musical events here.
CCM News

Cincinnati Children’s Choir Shares Holiday Cheer with Dec. 15 Concerts

Cincinnati Children's Choir, Ensemble-In-Residence at CCM Prep.

Cincinnati Children’s Choir, Ensemble-In-Residence at CCM Prep.

CCM proudly presents ensemble-in-residence Cincinnati Children’s Choir (CCC) in a Holiday Concert at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, in UC’s Corbett Auditorium.

This special Holiday Concert begins CCC’s season-long celebration of the choir’s 20th anniversary. Robyn Lana will conduct the 450 singers from 13 choirs across the Tri-State. The CCC’s six Resident Choirs, six Satellite Choirs and newly formed Parent Choir will be joined by the Cincinnati Collaborative Ringing Project and guest artists Jennifer Noel, soprano; Sofija Tasic, harp; and Jan Corrothers, organ. Learn more about the concerts here.

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CCM’s Aquarius String Quartet Advances to Fischoff Competition Quarter Finals

Congratulations to the members of the Aquarius String Quartet (Yabing Tan, Yang Liu, Qin Li, Christoph Sassmannshaus) on advancing to the quarter finals in the college division of this year’s Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. These live rounds will start on May 11 in South Bend, Indiana.

Last May, the Polaris String Quartet from CCM’s Starling Project were awarded the first prize in the junior division of the competition.

Founded in 1973 in South Bend, Indiana, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition has grown to become the largest chamber music competition in the world, and one of the most prestigious classical music prizes attainable today. Since its founding, more than 5,000 musicians have participated, many of whom have gone on to distinguished careers in music performance and education.

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