Welcome Carl Allen, William D. and Mary Grant/Endowed Professor of Jazz Studies

The UMKC is pleased to announce that Carl Allen will join our faculty Fall 2021 as the newly appointed William D. and Mary Grant/Endowed Professor of Jazz Studies.

Mr. Allen is one of the most celebrated jazz artists of his generation, having performed and taught all over the world and recorded with legendary jazz greats Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean, Michael Brecker, Sammy Davis Jr., Branford Marsalis, Lena Horne, Herbie Hancock, Benny Golson, Christian McBride and many others. His extensive discography is distributed globally by Atlantic Records, Alfa Jazz Records, Mack Avenue Records and includes nine albums as a leader and more than 225 recordings with other major artists. Mr. Allen’s tours have taken him all over the world, and he has nearly seventy credits as a producer.

Mr. Allen’s teaching career includes a twelve-year tenure at the Juilliard School, where he served as Artistic Director of Jazz Studies for the past six years, along with multiple residencies, consultancies and artistic affiliations with university jazz programs across the United States. He has been invited to numerous major universities to teach and give clinics and master classes, including the Berklee College of Music, the University of Southern California, Northwestern University, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the University of North Texas, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (Australia), Conservatorium van Amsterdam (Holland), Massey University (New Zealand), and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, awarded Mr. Allen an honorary doctorate in 2012.

Allen notes, "I am deeply honored and blessed to accept the position of Endowed Chair of Jazz Studies at UMKC. Jazz education has been important to me for as long as I can remember. In accepting this position, I inherit a program that is rich in tradition. It is my desire to continue to build on that tradition while moving the program forward by educating, encouraging, empowering and equipping our students to be the best version of themselves as artists and educators. 

Mr. Bobby Watson is due an immense amount of credit for the work that he poured into this program for nearly 20 years. I appreciate the sacrifice that he made both personally and professionally. We intend to build on what he did during his tenure here at UMKC.

I am looking forward to working with the faculty, staff, administration, community and most importantly the students. They are why we are all here."

The William D. and Mary Grant/Missouri Endowed Professorship in Jazz Studies was created by the Grant family more than twenty years ago, as part of a city-wide effort to bring Bobby Watson back to Kansas City to build the jazz studies program in the Conservatory. Dean Petrella notes, “I cannot imagine a better person to continue building on this legacy and the great history of Kansas City jazz than Carl Allen. I am confident his leadership will allow for continued and expanded prestige for the jazz programs in the UMKC Conservatory.”