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Jazz musician got his start in Rock Island


Bill Allred
Bill Allred is yet another in the line of fabulous jazz musicians to get his start in the Quad-Cities.

Although he no longer lives in the area, local residents have been able to enjoy his work several times in recent years -- at the Louie Bellson Jazz Fest, as well as in many other venues.

Mr. Allred was born in Rock Island, played trombone at Rock Island High School, then kept it going in the U.S. Navy Band and at the former St. Ambrose College in Davenport.

In 1971, Mr. Allred auditioned for the position of staff musician at the new Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. He was chosen to be one of the original 200 staff musicians from the 2,500 who auditioned.

His next stop was Rosie O'Grady's in Orlando, where in 1974 he organized the Goodtime Jazz Band and produced the World-Famous Goodtime Show. Mr. Allred remained at Rosie O'Grady's more than 15 years, serving as entertainment director and band leader.

After more than 10 years at Walt Disney World, he decided to reduce his Disney involvement to part-time and contract work.

He now spends most of his time touring and heading up his own entertainment production company in Orlando. Mr. Allred's company provides entertainment consulting, bands and orchestras, and show production and support for the likes of the late Red Skelton, Joan Rivers, Ray Charles and the Moody Blues.

In addition to all these activities, Mr. Allred still finds time to broaden his musical scope by recording, performing and traveling throughout the United States and Europe.

Mr. Allred's solo jazz performances have taken him to major jazz festivals and concerts in the United States and abroad. He has appeared in concert with Jack Teagarden, Billy Butterfield, Al Hirt, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Torme, Al Cohen, Zoot Sims, Snooky Young, Ross Tomkins, Bob Cooper, Milt Hinton, Bob Haggart, Butch Miles, Tom Saunders, Chuck Hedges and countless others.

For some years, Mr. Allred was a member of the Wild Bill Davison Jazz Band, traveling to Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, England, South America and many other festivals and concerts worldwide.

He's still a member of the Wild Bill Davison Legacy Band, a group championed by cornetist Tom Saunders. The Wild Bill Davison Legacy Band recently released an album, ``Call of the Wild,'' on Arbors Records. The group has performed in LaCrosse, Wis., Los Angeles, Sacramento and Germany.

-- By Sean Leary (February 9, 1998)

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