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.
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!