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Ride Red Ride The Life Of Henry 'Red' Allen
open our order pageJohn Chilton
Continuum, 2000
Paperback. 224pp. b&w illustrations

Ride, Red, Ride is the first biography of the jazz trumpeter and singer, Henry 'Red' Allen, long regarded as Louis Armstrong's chief rival. Both men were born in New Orleans and shared an African-American heritage, but their social backgrounds were quite different, as were their personalities. Whereas Armstrong made many best-selling records, Allen never achieved Hit Parade success but gradually built up a durable international following - today dozens of CDs of his work are widely available.

Allen daringly trod a path that combined tradition with experimentation, making him an ideal figure to inspire the young jazz musicians of today who are also trying to produce a jazz style that blends these two elements. His popularity has increased each year since his death in 1967; his tours of Europe are still regarded as having been among the most successful by any visiting jazz musician.

John Chilton, a close friend of Henry 'Red' Allen, brings to light various aspects of his personality, as well as analysing his magnificent recordings. The intriguing contrast between Allen's spectacular showmanship and his off-stage reticence is dealt with, and fascinating details of his early life in New Orleans and on the Mississippi riverboats are brought to light. All the periods of Allen's varied career are covered, including his work with King Oliver, Luis Russell, Fletcher Henderson, Kid Ory and Louis Armstrong. Many rare photographs from the Allen family collection are published for the first time.

JOHN CHILTON divides his time between being a professional jazz trumpeter and writing books on jazz.

CONTENTS: New Orleans Joys; A Trip to the North; Riverboat Days; A Musical Furnace; Star Soloist; The Blueprints of Swing; The Great Understudy; Bold Bandleader; Super Showman; Metropole Magic; European Debut; Four's Company; Triumphant Tours; A Valiant Farewell.

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