Instructor, Saxophone and Piano
Jazz Studies Area Coordinator
PAC 56; (360) 650-3133
- Master Of Arts in Jazz Performance, New York University, 1996
- Bachelor Of Music in Jazz Studies and Performance, McGill University, 1987
The Jazz Journal International describes Mike Allen as “an accomplished musician who has studied Coltrane in depth and forged a style that is fresh and vital.” Doug Fischer, jazz columnist with the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, hailed his seventh album Love One Another as the “#1 Canadian Jazz Album of 2005”, and Mike as “Canada’s top tenor man”.
Mike Allen began his musical career in Montreal, Canada upon graduating from McGill University in 1987: double major in Jazz Studies and Classical Saxophone Performance; Faculty Scholar with High Distinction. He is profiled in Mark Miller’s “Miller Companion To Jazz In Canada", in large part due to his tenure with Canadian jazz guitar legend Sonny Greenwich’s band in the early 1990s. Thanks to generous arts grant funding from the Canadian and Quebec governments, Mike was afforded the opportunity to live and study in New York City in 1992/93 where he obtained a Master’s degree in Jazz Performance from New York University while studying saxophone with Joe Lovano and piano with Jim McNeely. During his time in NYC, Mike forged a musical partnership with pianist Don Friedman that led to future performances and recordings in New York, Montreal and Vancouver. The partnership with Don Friedman led to Mike's new association with bassist Chuck Israels upon his arrival to the west coast in 1995 (Don and Chuck had recorded together for Riverside in the early 1960s). Mr. Israels was the head of Western Washington University’s jazz studies program and Mike was hired on as an affiliate instructor at WWU in 1996. Mike became the program’s Coordinator when Mr. Israels retired in 2010.
Mike Allen’s groups are regularly featured on national jazz radio programming and have toured extensively throughout Canada and the Pacific Northwest. The MAQ has hosted the Vancouver International Jazz Festival’s official 10-night jam session since 2003, and has such been fortunate to be joined by many great players including Wynton Marsalis and members of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Chucho Valdes, Kenny Werner, Chris Potter, Robin Eubanks, Eric Harland, Antonio Sanchez, and John Taylor, among others. Mike has performed in Seattle as a sideman with bassist/vocalist-Jim Ferguson at the Seattle Art Museum; The Chuck Israels Quintet at Dimitrio’s Jazz Alley; and John Fedchock’s All-Star West Coast Big Band at Tula’s Jazz Club.
Mike’s saxophone playing and compositional approach are strongly influenced by Joe Henderson, with whom he studied privately in 1996-97.