Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Allison, Ben (Wyeth)
Allison, Ben (Wyeth) , bassist-composer; b. New Haven, CT 17, November, 1966. Allison grew up with his mother Millie Allison (b. April 22, 1933), father Joel Allison (b. August 30, 1934) and brother Raphael Allison (b. March 14, 1970) in New Haven where he studied at the Educational Center for the Arts, Yale University and graduated from New York University in 1989.
He studied with pianist-composer Bill Brown (1981-85), Joe Lovano (1985-89), Steve LaSpina (1985-88), Jim McNeely (1985-89) and Dennis Irwin (1986-88).
He is a founder, Artistic Director, and Composer-in-Residence of the Jazz Composers Collective, a musician-run, non-profit organization, formed in 1992, that presents new music by its select membership. The Collective presents a concert series, publishes a newsletter, and maintains a web site). He has written over 100 works for ensembles of varying size and instrumentation. He has written music for film, national television and radio, including the theme for the National Public Radio (NPR) show "On the Media." He is co-leader (with pianist Frank Kimbrough) of the Herbie Nichols Project. He currently tours with his group Medicine Wheel, and the Herbie Nichols Project. He co-owns a bar (Kush) in New York City where he performs weekly with his trio.
He has taught classes and given clinics on a wide range of subjects at many educational institutions including New York University, Oxford, The Mannes College of Music (New York City), The New School for Social Research, The University of North Carolina (Greensboro, Charlotte), and Appalachian State University (North Carolina). In 1997 he was a composer-in-residence the Fieldston School in the Bronx. He is currently on the faculty of The Third Street Music School in New York City and is a guest lecturer at New York University and the New School. He has performed with Michael Blake and Free Association, the Ted Nash Double Quartet Plus One, Dave Douglas, the Herbie Nichols Project, Lee Konitz, Isaac Hayes, Matt Wilson, Dave Liebman, Joey Arias, Billy Hart, Billy Drewes, Jamie Haddad, Arthur Blythe, Vic Juris, Kenny Werner, The American Tap Dance Orchestra, the Village Vanguard Orchestra, the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, and many others.
"Best Bassist" Talent Deserving Wider Recognition (TDWR) 2002 Downbeat Critics' Poll
"Jazz Artist" Talent Deserving Wider Recognition (TDWR) 2002 Downbeat Critics' Poll
"Best Acoustic Group - Herbie Nichols Project" 2002 Downbeat Critics' Poll
"Best Album - Herbie Nichols Project, Strange City" 2002 Downbeat Critics' Poll
"Best Bassist" Talent Deserving Wider Recognition (TDWR) 2001 Downbeat Critics' Poll
SESAC 2001 National Performance Award - Riding the Nuclear Tiger (radio airplay)
SESAC 1999 National Performance Award - Third Eye (radio airplay)
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, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the American Composers Forum.
Ben Allison, Riding the Nuclear Tiger, among Best CDs of 2001 in JazzTimes, Coda, College Music Journal, Jazz Review, All About Jazz, Jazz Journalists Association, Newark Star-Ledger, United Press International.
Ben Allison, Third Eye, among Top 10 CDs of 1999 in Jazziz, New York Times, Newark Star-Ledger, Boston Globe, All About Jazz
Seven Arrows (1996); Medicine Wheel (1998); Music of Duke Ellington 1999); Third Eye (1999); Riding the Nuclear Tiger (2001); Peace Pipe 2002); The Herbie Nichols Project: Love Is Proximity (1997), Dr. Cyclops' Dream (1999), Strange City (2001)
Eddie Gale Quintet: A Minute With Miles (1993); Ted Nash Quartet: Out of This World(1993); Bill Gerhardt: Particular Vernacular (1995); Lee Konitz: Rhapsody - Volumes 1, King Records (1995), Rhapsody - Volumes 2, King Records (1995); Mike Lee: Above The Battleground (1996); Frank Kimbrough: Chant (1998); Michael Blake: Free Association (1999), Elevated, Drift; Ron Horton: Untitled (1999), Genius Envy; Ted Nash Double Quartet Plus One: Rhyme and Reason (1999); Palmetto Artists: The Other Side of Ellington; Tom Chistiensen: Gualala
Film and Television Soundtracks:
TIAA-Cref, Four Themes (national TV)
"On the Media", Main theme, promo, and buttons (National Public Radio/NPR)
An Amsterdam Tale, Score (Cineventura Production, Netherlands)
Up All Night, Incidental (USA Network)
20+ Commercials (performance, various networks)
1992 - present, 35+ Jazz Composers Collective concerts, NYC
Radio and Television Features and Interviews:
All Things Considered (NPR), 2002 - Feature Interview
Feature Interviews on WKCR-FM, WNYC-FM, Radio Bremen (Germany), Radio Tre (Italy), National Radio Frankfurt (Germany, and countless others in the US and abroad.
Jazz Times Magazine (Mar 1999) - contributed to article on Duke Ellington
Kansas City Star (Jan 1999) - contributed to article on Charles Mingus
Jazz Educators Journal (Nov 1998) - feature story, Allison and Jazz
Composers Collective co-wrote with Raphael Allison
Herbie Nichols Box Set (Blue Note Records, 1998) - co-wrote liner notes with Frank Kimbrough
Jazz Composers Collective newsletter (1992 - present) - asst. editor and contributing writer.
Articles about Ben Allison:
Downbeat Magazine (June 1999) - profile (25 leaders for the future)
Jazz Times Magazine (Nov 1998) - profile
Bass Player Magazine (Oct 1998) - profile
Feature Story, All About Jazz, Spring, 2000
Feature Story, Jazziz, April, 2000
Feature Story, JazzThing (Germany), Spring, 2001
Feature Story, CDnow.com, Spring, 2001
Interview, Oxford Times, UK, Spring, 2001
Feature Story, JazzTimes, April 2001
Feature Story, Downbeat, March 2002
Feature Story / Interview, Jazz It, March 2002
Feature Story, New York Times, March 17, 2002
Feature Story, Boston Globe, January 13, 2002