Primary Instrument: Trumpet
Shamarr Allen was born in the birthplace of Jazz, -- New Orleans, Louisiana --and became immersed in music at the early age of 7. His father a saxophonist by hobby became his first music teacher. Shamarr played in both the concert and marching bands all through school and always served as his section leader. As a teenager he attended the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp where he studied under the tutelage of Jazz educators Edward “Kidd” Jordan, Clyde Kerr Jr., Herlin Riley and the late Alvin Batiste. At age 13, Shamarr was invited to play with the Pittsburg University Orchestra and at 16 appeared at Carnegie Hall with the Mahogany Brass Band.
He began his professional career as a street musician in the French Quarter playing with Tuba Fats. His artistry was also greatly influenced by his elementary and private music instructor Yvette Best, then, flautist for the North Dakota Philharmonic and by his mentors Leroy Jones, Joe Torregano, Bob French and Tim Green some of New Orleans’ most noted Jazz musicians. Shamarr credits them with greatly impacting what he does today. Playing with street musicians for tourists, lead to his involvement with New Orleans brass bands -- the Hot 8 Brass Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Lil’ Rascals, Treme and others.
Expanding his horizons, Shamarr now plays a variety of music styles. He presently leads traditional Jazz bands and his own Funk and Rock group, The Underdawgs. He has written and produced Hip Hop tracks, traditional Jazz and rock tunes. He has shared the bandstand with music greats like, Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Dr. Michael White, Henry Butler, Bob French, Leo Nocentelli, George Porter, Ivan Neville, Tim Green and Marcia Ball to name a few and has performed on many festivals and concerts around the world.
Along with a busy performance schedule, Shamarr currently runs a weekly clinic at Sound Café in New Orleans where he teaches music to middle and high school Jazz enthusiasts. As a result of his new desire to pass his knowledge on to others, the city of New Orleans honored Shamarr in 2007 for his work as a teacher and role model.
With the spirit and demeanor of Louis Armstrong, Shamarr has put his own unique spin on the interpretation of the music. Like Armstrong, his concern for people and pleasing an audience always comes first. He has also mastered the art of fusing traditional with contemporary jazz and funk.
Awards:Big Easy Awards Best Emerging Artist, 2008
Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs have produced an incredible thought and theory provoking collection by blending the best sounds together infused with local flavor which will most likely land Box Who In? as one of the top selling CDs this summer
Sterophile Magazine, April 2009 on Freshman Release, Meet me on Frenchman Street.
As debut records go, it's hard to find many more accomplished than this. A solid first step, he (Allen) wisely shows his roots on Jazz...Allen's jaunty title cut, done in the best traditions of New Orleans music, is the official theme song of the rebuilding city.
Music Director Shamarr Allen leads workshops for young people at Sound Cafe in the Marigny.