Allen Morrison knows a thing or two about jazz piano. As a journalist for famed jazz outlets, he's profiled legendary artists like Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. And when he's not writing, you'll find him gigging up a storm. Find-out more on his blog at www.allenmorrison.com.
CURRENT GIG: I play piano/keyboards in Jazzopedia, a Long Island jazz quartet featuring Marc Rosen, guitar; Edgar Mills, bass; and Brad Sporkin, drums.
MY DAY JOB: I’m a full-time jazz journalist, critic and lecturer on jazz history. As a regular contributor to DownBeat and JazzTimes, I have interviewed Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Donald Fagen, and too many other jazz greats to list. My work has also appeared in The Guardian, Jazziz, American Songwriter and Departures. I also lecture regularly on jazz history aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2.
HOW I GOT STARTED: I began to play piano by ear as a toddler, then studied classical and jazz. I played keyboards in rock bands in high school and toured the Midwest and South with a Top 40 band before returning to college to get an English degree. I continue to study piano with Michael Kanan, a top New York jazz pianist and in-demand accompanist.
FAVORITE PIANO/KEYBOARDS I PLAY: I prefer to play acoustic piano when possible. I own a Weinbach grand piano and a Yamaha U-1. I also enjoy my Yamaha S70-XS, which I play on gigs if there’s no decent acoustic available.
RECENT CONCERTS: Jazzopedia plays clubs and restaurants on Long Island. We recently began performing a show at libraries and other venues in which I talk about jazz history, then the band illustrates with tunes representing various eras and styles of jazz, including ragtime, swing, bop, hard bop and Brazilian.
OTHER INTERESTS: I’m working on a book on the differences between how musicians and non-musicians hear music. Before becoming a full-time journalist, I worked as a music publicist. I still take on some publicity work for jazz artists as my schedule permits.