Simon Allen

Simon AllenSimon was brought up in Reading, attended Maiden Erleigh School and, as a young saxophone player, joined the Berkshire Youth Jazz Orchestra, which was later re-named Pendulum.

He came to wider attention while playing in NYJO from 1999 to 2003 and, after being a winner in the Daily Telegraph Young Jazz competition and a Young Jazz Musician of the Year finalist, Simon gained a place at the Royal Academy of Music.

Later he was selected to join UK drummer Clark Tracey’s acclaimed Quintet, winning further awards and touring the UK over the course of seven years. Simon also played with Clark’s father, the late Stan Tracey, featuring on the last two quartet recordings and appearing with Stan on the TV show Later With Jools Holland performing a track from Stan’s last album, The Flying Pig. He now plays in the Stan Tracey Legacy Band, helping to introduce Stan’s music to new audiences.

Simon has worked with Colin Towns’ Mask Orchestra for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, and the Matthew Herbert Big Band, touring around Germany, China, Belgium and Poland. He has appeared at major UK venues and festivals including Ronnie Scott’s, the Barbican and the Brecon Jazz Festival, and worked with an astonishing array of top musicians from the jazz and pop world, including Jamie Cullum, Beverley Knight and Florence Rawlings, a young soul singer managed by Mike Batt.

Outside of jazz, Simon leads a horn section which has backed Phil Collins, Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney among others. He was also featured on the soundtracks of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and Sujoy Ghosh’s Aladdin, as well as on Katie Melua’s Pictures album.

Simon now fronts his own Quintet, with which he has recorded the album Any Minute Now, as well as playing with the Laurence Cottle All Star Big Band, Sax Appeal, JazzBomb and the Bobby Worth Quintet.

He is also Musician in Residence at the Elstree UTC and, in September 2014, was appointed saxophone tutor and Head of Jazz at the Purcell School of Music.