Jackie Allen has been singing jazz in Chicago since 1992 and has nine CDs to her credit. With Starry Night (2009), Jackie Allen celebrates her ninth release; a live recording with orchestra featuring star-themed songs arranged expressly for her by seven gifted professionals who have written for such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Doc Severinsen, Bobby McFerrin and Diana Krall. Deftly accompanied by the Muncie Symphony Orchestra and her combo, Jackie's Starry Night performances are, in the words of jazz icon Fred Sturm, "artistic, elegant, passionate, and thoroughly engaging."
Accompanied by the Muncie Symphony Orchestra and her combo (John Moulder guitar, Mike Kocour piano, Hans Sturm bass, Dane Richeson drums), Allen floats easily through classics like Hoagy Carmichael's Star Dust, uniquely arranged by Frank Proto (Cincinnati Symphony). Bassist and arranger John Clayton breathes fresh air into Star Eyes (DePaul/Raye) and I've Never Been In Love Before (Frank Loesser). Pianist and arranger Bill Cunliffe's lush style lends great support under Jackie with Lost In the Stars (Anderson/Weill) and Sergio Mendez's So Many Stars. Other Latin standards include Jobim's If You Never Come To Me (arr. Mark Buselli) and Mike Kocour's interpretation of Micheal Legrand's You Must Believe In Spring re-imagined with a Brazilian heart. Kocour also puts humor and swing into the tongue and cheek When In Rome (Coleman & Leigh).
Matt Harris penned the arrangement of Don McClean's folk-pop classic Vincent (Starry, Starry Night). Allen also conceived a medley of waltzes with three children's lullabies which include Hush-a-bye Mountain from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and two rarely heard Alec Wilder ballads: The Star Lighter and Star Wish, sensitively arranged by Frank Proto. Allen includes Moon Of Deception, an original co-written with Oryna Shiffman, previously released on Love Is Blue (A440 Music Group) re-imagined for orchestra by composer/arranger Jody Nagel.
The Muncie Symphony Orchestra's Artistic Director, Bohuslav Rattay, (a transplant from Prague) attended a concert in Chicago at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park where he heard Jackie featured with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic to a crowd of over 10,000 people. Rattay, was looking for inspiration to create a special concert to celebrate Muncie Symphony's 60th anniversary. With Jackie, he found it and the idea for Starry Night was born.
She became a Blue Note Artist with the release of Tangled (2006), a recording that was called "Exquiste" by the Capitol Times. Love is Blue (2004) reached number eight nationally in airplay and the top fifteen on the Billboard charts. The Jazz Times Magazine said of The Men in My Life (2003), a tribute to male influences from Sinatra to Sting, “There’s only one word to describe it: Wow!” She recorded two duet CDs with legendary pianist/vocalist Judy Roberts, and what Jazz News called a “daring, sensuous, striking," duet CD with bassist Hans Sturm. With Grammy winning producer Ralph Jungheim Jackie recorded Which? featuring arrangements by Thelonius Monk Competition winner Bill Cunliffe. Her debut self-produced album Never Let Me Go (1994) remained on the national charts for 13 weeks.
Jackie has appeared as a featured performer at many of the most famous U.S. jazz clubs including the Blue Note and Joe’s Pub (NYC), Yoshi’s (San Francisco), Catalina’s (Los Angeles), the Dakota (Minneapolis), and the Jazz Showcase and Green Mill (Chicago). She has appeared at the Detroit, Ravinia and Chicago Jazz Festivals and at Millennium Park with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic.
Internationally, Allen has appeared at the North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), Thessaloniki Jazz Festival (Greece), In Paris at Chatalet Hall (France), Bejing Music Festival (China) and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland) and Brazil with her voice/bass duo. Allen currently teaches at Roosevelt University in Chicago and has held teaching posts at the Wisconsin Conservatory in Milwaukee, Elmhurst College and The Old Town School of Folk Music. Allen co-produced and starred in the sold-out benefit show, "America 1941," with actor John Mahoney. She has served multiple terms as a Board of Governors for the Recording Academy (Grammy Awards).