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The Kennedy Center

Ben Allison



Biography

In a career that spans nearly 30 years, bassist/composer Ben Allison has developed his own instantly identifiable sound, solidifying an international reputation as one of the leading voices of his generation. Known for his inspired arrangements, inventive grooves and hummable melodies, Ben draws from the jazz tradition and a range of influences from rock and folk to 20th century classical and world music, seamlessly blending them into a cinematic, cohesive whole.

With his groups The Ben Allison Band, Think Free, The Easy Way Trio, Peace Pipe, and Medicine Wheel, Ben has toured extensively throughout the world, winning fans and building new audiences with an adventurous yet accessible sound and a flair for the unexpected.

Recent performance highlights include Carnegie Hall (New York City), Teatro Manzoni (Milan, Italy), Thatro Roberto Cantoral (Mexico City, Mexico), Central Park’s SummerStage (New York, NY), Auditório Ibirapuera (Sao Paulo, Brazil), The Capitol Theater (Salt Lake City, NV), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, CA) and Queen Elizabeth Hall (London, England).

In 2005, 2008 and 2013, Ben was a featured composer, arranger and performer with Jazz Sinfonica, an 80-piece orchestra based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The orchestra performed Ben’s compositions Little Things Run the World, Riding the Nuclear Tiger, Roll Credits, Green Al, and others from his various albums. Ben performed his Carnegie Hall debut as a leader in February 2012. A multi-part short documentary of Ben preparing for the concert was filmed.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Ben has performed and collaborated with an extremely diverse range of artists including oudist Ara Dinkjian, kora player Mamadou Diabate, saxophonists Lee Konitz and Joe Lovano, Cambodian chapei master Kong Nay, legendary performance artist Joey Arias, tap dancers Jimmy Slide and Gregory Hines and US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. He has appeared on over 50 albums by various artists and has written music for film, television and radio, including the theme for the National Public Radio (NPR) show On the Media (which boasts a listenership of over 2,000,000 people), the score for Two Days, a play written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Donald Margulies and the theme for The Conversation, a webcast talk show hosted by Pharrell Williams

Upcoming Performances

Video 10/2/2018: The U.S. Army Blues

The U.S. Army Blues, part of the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” is the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Army. After informal beginnings in 1970, this 18-piece ensemble became an official element of the Army Band in 1972. Comprised of exceptional jazz musicians from across the nation, the Army Blues strive to fulfill their mission through public concerts, educational outreach, and the preservation of the tradition of America’s unique art form: jazz.

Featuring Ben Allison as a guest artist at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Ben’s compositional prowess has a cinematic and narrative quality drawing from influences ranging from the straight ahead jazz cannon, the western classical music cannon, rock, folk, jazz fusion, and world music. His playing is grooving and exciting yet subtly detailed and thoughtful and he’s been described as one of the most exciting young artists to emerge out of the late 20th and early 21st Century New York jazz community.

Ben Allison