Shamarr Allen was born and raised in the birthplace of Jazz -- New Orleans, Louisiana --and became immersed in music at the early age of 7. With the spirit and demeanor of Louis Armstrong, Shamarr has put his own unique spin on the interpretation of the music. Like Armstrong, his concern for people and pleasing an audience always comes first. He has also mastered the art of fusing traditional with contemporary jazz and funk.
Shamarr’s father, a saxophonist by hobby became his first music teacher. As a teenager he attended the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp where he studied under the tutelage of Jazz educators Edward “Kidd” Jordan, Clyde Kerr Jr., Herlin Riley and the late Alvin Batiste. At age 13, Shamarr was invited to play with the Pittsburg University Orchestra and at 16 appeared at Carnegie Hall with the Mahogany Brass Band.
Shamarr began his professional career as a street musician in the French Quarter playing with Tuba Fats. His artistry was also greatly influenced by his elementary and private music instructor Yvette Best, then, flautist for the North Dakota Philharmonic and by his mentors Leroy Jones, Joe Torregano, Bob French and Tim Green - some of New Orleans’ most noted Jazz musicians. Shamarr credits them with greatly impacting what he does today. Playing with street musicians for tourists led to his involvement with New Orleans brass bands -- the Hot 8 Brass Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Lil’ Rascals, Treme and others.
Expanding his horizons, Shamarr now plays a variety of music styles. He presently leads a traditional Jazz band in addition to his own Funk/Rock group, The Underdawgs. He has written and produced Hip Hop tracks, traditional Jazz and rock tunes. He has shared the bandstand with music greats like Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Dr. Michael White, Henry Butler, Bob French, Leo Nocentelli, George Porter, Ivan Neville, Tim Green and Marcia Ball to name a few and has performed in many festivals and concerts around the world.
Shamarr has played with many of New Orleans most prominent musicians and bands and has been featured on several recordings. He also released his debut solo CD in October titled "Meet Me on Frenchmen Street.” When asked about this album, Bob French, one of the elder statesmen of the New Orleans Jazz community, says of the album: “I think everybody that likes music and everybody who loves Jazz should have this album as their personal best in their collection. The young man is the new coming of his era. When you talk about people like Pops and all the great players, he's a great player. Besides that, he's smart enough to get some of the best musicians in the city of New Orleans to record with him.”
Along with a busy performance schedule, Shamarr currently runs a weekly clinic at Sound Café in New Orleans where he teaches music to middle and high school Jazz enthusiasts. As a result of his new desire to pass his knowledge on to others, the city of New Orleans honored Shamarr in 2007 for his work as a teacher and role model.