Going to a Classic Jazz Band set is much like attending a symposium on the history of jazz. You are apt to hear anything from Jelly Roll Morton to Count Basie and all the stops in between. The band uses the five-horn front line typical of such bands as those of Matty Matlock, Billy Maxted, and Red Nichols, as well as The World’s Greatest Jazz Band.
Early in the band’s career Bill was able to acquire a major portion of Matty Matlock’s Paducah Patrol library, thanks to Matty’s son, Buddy. All of Matty’s charts were essentially written for 10 musicians, but some were more easily adaptable to the Classic band’s eight. Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band has performed and recorded some of the arrangements with all 10 parts by adding a baritone saxophone and a guitar. In 2007, the 100th anniversary of Matty Matlock’s birth, the band performed tribute concerts with a full 10-member ensemble.
Over the years, the Classic Jazz Band has added an eclectic collection of written and improvised jazz to its library. After learning of the band’s desire to tour with a classic library, noted pianist and arranger Billy Maxted contributed quite a few of his great charts. Other contributors include Bob Haggart, legendary writer and performer Joe DeWeese, Dave Wolpe, Scott Whitfield, John Bambridge, Terry Waddell, Dave MacKenzie and Dan Barrett, as well as the band's own John Allred and Bob Pickwood.
Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band has appeared at jazz festivals and/or presented concerts in Sacramento, Palm Springs and Mammoth Lakes, California; Davenport, Iowa; Madison, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; Elkhart and Indianapolis, Indiana; Sun Valley, Idaho; Seaside, Oregon; the Jazz Café at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.; Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; and at festivals and a wide variety of venues throughout Florida and elsewhere in the U.S. Overseas trips have taken them to Hong Kong, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, England, Scotland, Italy and South America. In Rome, they performed a benefit for the World Food Program at the Jazz Club Alpheus. They have also been the featured band on several Jazzdagen cruises and on the Mississippi Queen riverboat.
An active recording program has yielded 14 albums. All of them were originally recorded on or have been re-released on CD. Although a few of the titles have sold out, those that are no longer in stock can be custom produced so all of the recordings can still be purchased. They are: ALLRED HOT AND BLUE, STAND BACK, LIVE AND KICKIN', HONG KONG BLUES, RED HOT SESSIONS, SWING RIOT, MEET ME WHERE THEY PLAY THE BLUES, VERSATILITY, LEAN, MEAN SWING MACHINE, THE CLASSIC SWING COLLECTION, 2 THE MAX, THINGS AIN'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE, THIRTEEN and the latest one THE NEW YORK SESSIONS.
Bill’s musical legacy started in the city of New Orleans, Bill's grandmother Ida, was born near the “Crescent City” in the town of Franklin, LA. His father, John, was a jazz pianist and banjoist on many of the steamboats of the great "Strekfus Line," playing in and around New Orleans as well as up and down the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Bill was also born near the Mississippi River in the town of Rock Island, Illinois. He played Trombone in High School, College and the U.S. Navy Band.
In 1971, Bill auditioned for the position of staff musician at the new Walt Disney World attraction in Orlando, Florida. He was chosen as one of the original 200 staff musicians from over 2500 auditioned. Bill was a full time employee at WDW for over 12 years. He now does contract work for them. He later formed the band and show for Rosie O’Grady’s in Orlando as well as the Ft. Lauderdale music Hall, Auntie Mame’s. the later won him the coveted Carbonel award for the “Best Night Club Show” in South Florida.
For some years, Bill was also a regular member of the Wild Bill Davison Jazz Band, traveling to Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, England, South America and at many other festivals and concerts worldwide.
Bill has also appeared in concert with Billy Butterfield, Bob Crosby, Bobby Hackett, Eddie Miller, Al Hirt, Dick Hyman, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Torme, Al Cohen, Louis Bellson, Snooky Young, Ross Tomkins, Bob Cooper, Urbie Green, Carl Fontana, Milt Hinton, Bob Haggart, Butch Miles, Buddy Morrow, Tex Benecke, Billy Maxted, and the Lawson-Haggart, World’s Greatest Jazz Band.
Bill’s big band experience includes Bob Crosby, Tex Beneke, Buddy Morrow, Ray Charles and the Terry Myers salute to Benny Goodman.
Bill has appeared with his own CLASSIC JAZZ BAND at many major US Jazz Festivals. The North Sea Jazz Festival, several tours of the UK included performances in and around London, Edinburgh, Brecon, Wales, The Birmingham, England Jazz Festival, concerts in Belfast, Northern Ireland and a one-week appearance as "Jazz Band In Residence" at the prestigious Music Festival in Hong Kong. Bill is on 4 recordings with Wild Bill Davison, has just released the 13th CD with his Classic Jazz Band and a recent recording New York Sessions with an all-star band including his son, well-known trombonist, John Allred and Warren Vache’.