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Music Man Fred Allen’s musical performances are a labor of love

Fred Allen & Company

Fred Allen & Company

Music Man Fred Allen’s musical performances are a labor of love

By Charles Moseley

If music is the key that unlocks the soul then South Florida jazz guitarist Fred Allen is a locksmith who is opening up the door to his unique style of making music. Allen is one of the area’s best kept secrets but continues to deliver very fresh and passionate performances, which crossover a plethora of music genres.

After hearing Allen perform it’s hard to distinguish whether he is a guitarist who loves to sing or a singer who loves to play the guitar? However one thing is certain about this very talented artist and that is the obvious passion he has for performing.

Whether he is playing at an intimate setting at a local night spot or before thousands at a major event he is bound to give it all he’s got when performing before a live audience.

Sheryl Dickey, President/CEO of the Midtown Arts & Business Center which is located along the corridor of Northwest Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. Dickey has become a fan and big supporter of Allen.

In recent years Dickey has worked to attract interest by the local community into home grown talent in the cultural and performing arts. For the past year Dickey has sponsored various cultural arts events at her facility. On the second Thursday of each month she holds a social gathering known as, “Soulful Thursdays.”

Fred Allen has become the regularly featured musical performer at “Soulful Thursdays.” most of that time. The event also recently showcased another one South Florida’s popular R& B groups known as The Old School Gang.

“We wanted to showcase the art gallery which features our South Florida artist and entertainers. We’re talking about our spoken word artists, our singers, our actors, and all forms of entertainment.”

“Fred Allen is an energizing performer who will make you get up out of your seat and clap your hands and do a two-step. We need to help patronize our entertainers because soulful live, R & B music and jazz” are rare in South Florida. We have got to keep these artists engaged so we can keep them here,” said Dickey.

Plans are underway according to Dickey, for a Poetry and Cuisine Night every first Friday beginning in December.

Allen has been exposed to music ever since he was a toddler and shared some of his early music experiences.

“I had a guitar since I was a baby, My Aunt Jackie who helped raised me, dated a gospel group guitarist. He would practice on the front porch of my grandmother’s house. I was fascinated by the tones he would create. I also sang in the choir at the Camel City Church with my Aunt Patricia since I was three years old.”

“I came to live with my dad and his wife Enid at the age of four and a half. They supported me by enrolling me in guitar lessons when I was in third grade at Shoemaker Music Store was located behind Burdines and next to Western Auto,” added Allen.

“I have been playing in bands since my senior year at Seminole High School. We even performed on the high school campus at Seminole High School. Once we even convinced the manager of the old Victory Theater to raise their projection screen and let us perform during an afternoon matinee.”

Allen classifies his music style as, ”Chitlin Circuit Rhythm & Blues,” and says his major musical influences include Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, and George Benson.

Allen recalled two events which he considers the highlights of his career.

“I would have to list two things as the highlights of my performing career. First I would have to include my performance at the Oprah Winfrey “The Color Purple” Cast Party which took place at the Adrien Arshdt Center in Miami. The other highlight would have to be my performing for 19 consecutive years, at the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet.” (Some of the inductees include Michael Irvin (football), Lisa Ingraham (basketball), and Walter Dix, (track).

Recently Allen has been working on a new album he says that he would like to release in the near future.

“I have been working on a new album for quite some time. Like everything it will require capital. I have enough material for ten albums. I have been writing songs since my FAMU days. My music reveals things about my life’s experiences and disappointments.”

Allen is available for live performance engagements and can be reached at (954) 801-4917.


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