Harry Allen, tenor saxophone
“Stan Getz was once asked his idea of the perfect tenor saxophone soloist. His answer was, ‘My technique, Al Cohn’s ideas, and Zoot’s time.’ The fulfillment of that ideal may well be embodied in… Harry Allen.” – Gene Lees, jazz writer and lyricist
In 2020, Harry Allen was inducted into the Jazz Monsters Hall of Fame at SOKA University of America and was a top-three finalist for France’s Acadamie du Jazz’s Prix du Jazz Classique for his CD, Under a Blanket of Blue, with guitarist Dave Blenkhorn. Not only was this CD recorded remotely during the pandemic, but also mixed and mastered by Harry.
He has recorded over 70 CDs as a leader and many more as a sideman. Three of Harry’s CDs have won Gold Disc Awards from Japan’s Swing Journal Magazine, and his CD Tenors Anyone? won both the Gold Disc Award and the New Star Award. His recordings have made the top ten list for favorite new releases in Swing Journal Magazine’s readers poll and Jazz Journal International’s critic’s poll for 1997, and Eu Nao Quero Dancar (I Won’t Dance), the third Gold Disc Award winner, was voted second for album of the year for 1998 by Swing Journal Magazine’s reader’s poll. The Harry Allen – Joe CohnQuartet won the New York Nightlife Award for Outstanding Jazz Combo Performance of 2006 and was nominated for Best Jazz Combo by the Jazz Journalists Association for the same year. Harry also won the 2010 New York Nightlife Award for Best Jazz Solo.
Harry has performed at jazz festivals and clubs worldwide, frequently touring the UnitedStates, Europe and Asia. He has performed with Rosemary Clooney, Jay Geils, RayBrown, Hank Jones, Frank Wess, Flip Phillips, Scott Hamilton, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Kenny Burrell, Herb Ellis, John Pizzarelli, Bucky Pizzarelli, Gus Johnson, Jeff Hamilton, Terry Gibbs, Warren Vache, and has recorded with Tony Bennett, Johnny Mandel, RayBrown, Tommy Flanagan, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Kenny Barron, Dave McKenna, Dori Caymmi, Larry Goldings, George Mraz, Jake Hanna, and Al Foster, among others.
Harry is featured on many of John Pizzarelli’s recordings including the soundtrack and anon-screen cameo in the feature film The Out of Towners starring Steve Martin and oldie Hawn. He has also done a series of commercials for ESPN starring Robert Goulet.
Harry was born in Washington D.C. in 1966, and was raised in Los Angeles, CA and Burrillville, RI. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music in 1988 from Rutgers University in New Jersey, and currently resides in North Bergen, New Jersey.
Andy Brown, guitar
Andy Brown is a guitarist based in Chicago. Born in New York in 1975, he has played professionally for over twenty five years. He has had a varied performing career that has included stints in Cincinnati and New York City.
Since coming to Chicago in 2003, Andy has been fortunate to work at many of the area’s finest jazz venues with his own bands, as well as playing his unique brand of solo jazz guitar. He has backed visiting jazz names at places including The Jazz Showcase, Ravinia and the Harris Theater. Currently he plays solo guitar every Thursday at The Green Mill, leads his quartet every Wednesday at Andy’s Jazz Club and performs with his trio bi-weekly at Winter’s Jazz Club.
As a sideman he has performed with internationally know jazz musicians including Scott Hamilton, Howard Alden, Harry Allen, Warren Vaché, Ken Peplowski, Hod O’Brien, Rebecca Kilgore, Judy Carmichael, John Pisano, Michael Feinstein, Anat Cohen, Kurt Elling and many others. He has also worked with many names on the Chicago jazz scene including Russ Phillips, Don Stiernberg, Chris Foreman, Eric Schneider, Bobby Lewis and Judy Roberts.
His love of great tunes, as well as accompanying skills have made him a favorite with vocalists. Married to frequent partner vocalist Petra van Nuis, Andy has worked with many of Chicago’s finest singers. Andy also had the good fortune to accompany Barbra Streisand when she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2009.
Andy has made many festival and club appearances around the world. Highlights include Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Chautauqua Jazz Party, the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Cleveland Classic Jazz Party, as well as festivals in Rio de Janeiro, the Netherlands, Germany and throughout the United States.
Andy has provided the music for a wide variety of parties and private events. In 2012, his trio was invited by the Chicago Mayor’s office to perform for the Nobel Peace Prize dinner in Chicago where invited guests included U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, as well as the Dalai Lama and Mikhail Gorbachev. Also in 2012, Andy’s trio was hired by the U.S. State Department to provide music for the opening night gala at the NATO summit held in Chicago.
Andy enjoys being a member of several bands besides his own. He works often with vocalist Petra van Nuis, either in duo or larger groups, including Petra’s Recession Seven. They have worked together all over Chicago and in venues throughout the country, as well as tours of Europe and Canada.
Since 2009, Andy has co-led a two-guitar quartet with renowned guitarist Howard Alden. In 2013, Delmark Records released a CD of the group entitled “Heavy Artillery” which received four stars in Downbeat magazine and was featured in their annual Albums Of The Year issue.
Andy plays regularly with jazz mandolinist Don Stiernberg’s trio. They have worked at festivals in Germany and Brazil, as well as throughout the United States. He is also a member of trombonist Russ Phillips’ group, both with Russ’ Quartet and his Windy City All-Stars.
Andy has been featured on a wide array of recordings. As a leader, his latest is the 2016 Delmark Records release “Direct Call” which received four stars in Downbeat magazine. His previous Delmark release “Soloist” was his first solo jazz guitar recording and received warm reviews from critics and fans alike. 2015 marked the release of organist Chris Foreman’s debut recording “Now Is The Time” which featured Andy on several cuts. In 2016, mandolinist Don Stiernberg released a CD titled “Good Numbers” featuring Andy on acoustic archtop guitar. Andy has collaborated on four CDs with Petra van Nuis, the most recent being their 2017 duet release “Lessons Lyrical.”
Andy had the good fortune to learn directly from several guitar masters, including Cal Collins, Ted Greene, and Howard Alden. His most important mentor was the late Kenny Poole, who called Andy his protégé.
Paul Keller, bass
String bassist Paul Keller is a Michigan jazz hero; he loves his life in Saline, MI where he lives with his wife and two kids and performs locally, in Detroit, and across his home state of Michigan. Paul wear many jazz hats: He leads several successful and busy jazz ensembles including his big band The Paul Keller Orchestra; he’s an in-demand side man, a prolific composer, a creative and skilled arranger, an enthusiastic and innovative jazz educator, a recording company owner and producer, and a nationally recognized recording artist. Paul can be heard every week at his home base – Zal Gaz Grotto in Ann Arbor (on Mondays with his PKO big band and on Tuesdays with the Easy Street Jazz Band). Keller spent several years on the road with guitarist Russell Malone and later with singer/pianist Diana Krall. Together with Russell and Diana, Paul recorded Diana’s Grammy-nominated All For You. These days, Paul performs frequently with guitarist/singer and jazz super-star John Pizzarelli – they just toured Brazil for a week. Paul travels the world to play special concerts and festivals with a myriad of jazz stars including Jackie Ryan, Scott Hamilton, Larry Vuckovich, Benny Green, and Warren and Alan Vache.
Pete Siers, drums
Pete Siers is a hard-swinging, straight-ahead jazz drummer, percussionist, bandleader, and first right-of-call sideman. After spending years with Detroit pianist Eddie Russ, Siers established himself in his adopted hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and since then has played with an ever-multiplying international cast of musicians in an impressive range of styles. These include Mulgrew Miller, Lee Konitz, Benny Golson, Kenny Werner, and Scott Hamilton; he also records with his own trio and quartet.
Coming from a Polish-American family in Saginaw, Michigan, Siers’ first exposure to music came from listening to polkas at home. Starting piano lessons at the age of six, he continued on the ivories until he heard the U.S. Army Big Band with a drummer who impressed Siers so much that he switched to drums.
He earned a music degree from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids and played with their jazz ensemble. In 1984, he joined the John Shea Trio and moved on to play with Detroit pianist Eddie Russ, opening the door to gigs and recording sessions with such Detroit musicians as Paul Vornhagen, Paul Keller, Bess Bonnier, and blues and boogie woogie piano player Mr. B. Since 1987, he has been a member of the Keller-Kocher Quartet, which released its first album, Midnight Sun, in 1993.
Siers was an original member of the Bird of Paradise Orchestra (later the Paul Keller Orchestra). This award-winning aggregation played original, obscure, and classic big-band material from all periods of jazz history. The Pete Siers Trio cut its maiden album, Those Who Choose to Swing, in 1999.
Siers is comfortable with virtually any style of jazz music. In addition to performing with big bands and small groups, he has played with musicians representing dissimilar styles, including Sonny Fortune, Doc Cheatham, Frank Morgan, and Warren Vaché. He has appeared at the North Sea, Playboy, Sunfest, and other major jazz festivals in the United States and Europe. He also leads the Pete Siers Quartet, with organist Duncan McMillan, saxophonist Steve Wood, and guitarist Matt LaRusso. Their 2010 debut, Organic Roots, was internationally acclaimed. Siers also heads Los Gatos, a Latin jazz quintet featuring the music of Cal Tjader, Tito Puente, Joe Cuba, and Mongo Santamaria. Though primarily a live group, they’ve recorded a number of albums including 2001’s Cats Got Your Tongue?, 2008’s Insight, and 2017’s Guaracheate! With a shared interest in unconventional improvisation, Siers, saxophonist Andrew Bishop, and organist/composer Tad Weed cut What Holds Us Up in May of 2018. The eight-tune set included readings of compositions by Frank Catalano, Thelonious Monk, and Leroy Vinnegar, alongside three Weed originals and a group improvisation. It was the last recording the organist played on; he succumbed to cancer in August. The album was issued in early 2020 by PKO.