Ottawa Citizen jazz columnist Doug Fischer’s rates Allen’s seventh album, Love One Another the “#1 Canadian Jazz Album of 2005” and calls the 47m year-old Vancouver-based saxophonist, pianist, composer and educator “the country’s top jazz saxophonist”. Jazz Journal International refers to Mike as “an accomplished musician who has studied Coltrane in depth and forged a style that is fresh and vital”.
Mike Allen is profiled in Miller Companion To Jazz In Canada, has earned an Master’s In Jazz from New York University and is the Director of Jazz Studies at Western Washington University. He has worked with internationally recognized players including Michael Buble, Cedar Walton, Julian Priester, Kenny Wheeler, Peter Leitch, Gary Bartz, Brian Lynch, Chuck Israels, Donald Bailey, Ali Jackson, Seamus Blake, and Pete Magadini. Mike was a member of Canadian guitar legend Sonny Greenwich’s band from 1990 to 1995. His playing is featured on Greenwich’s Standard Idioms (Kleo) and Fragments Of A Memory (Cornerstone). In 1993, Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail listed Mike as one of a half-dozen “Interesting Canadians To Watch”.
These days he performs primarily on the West Coast, with occasional regional and national tours, and is regularly featured on nationally aired CBC radio broadcasts. Fearless, Allen’s 2004 release was chosen by NPR/Public Radio International jazz host Jim Wilke, as one of the “Best Pacific Northwest Jazz CDs of 2004”, while his 2003 trio album Dialectic won “Outstanding Jazz Recording 2003” at the Western Canadian Music Awards. Mike has received prestigious Arts Council grants over the years to study with tenor giants Joe Henderson, Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman. In the tradition of his musical mentors, Mike’s groups perform original and classic jazz repertoire with a focus on lyricism, swing and cohesive group interaction.