Rex Allen was born in Pittsburgh, PA and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. His father Charles was an amateur drummer and follower of early big bands in New York City. “He indoctrinated me with old Ellington and Armstrong records when I was five,” according to Rex. “I never had a chance to discover Rock ‘n Roll – but why eat oatmeal when you can have steak?”
At the age of 24, he was a featured jazz trombone soloist with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1977. During 1978 to 1980, Rex toured with Yank Lawson and Bob Haggart’s World’s Greatest Jazz Band (“a dream come true working with my idols”), and was a member of the Bob Crosby Bob Cats from 1979 thru 1987. He led the new Gene Krupa Orchestra for for six years.
Rex is active as a producer and participant in many national concert tours, including The Big Bands Festival of the Fabulous 40′s – a 61-city tour. He was the leader in the 75-city National Tour of A Salute to Glenn Miller in 1993, with the Modernaires, Dick Haymes, Jr and Beryl Davis.
Rex produces the Tommy Dorsey Swinging Years Show with singing star Connie Haines, and has shared stages with Lionel Hampton, Helen Forrest, Helen O’Connell, Phil Harris, Milt Hinton, and the Pied Pipers.
Rex Allen’s America Swings Again radio show aired weekly on KNOB radio in San Francisco.
He is a frequent guest star or member of all-star groups at jazz parties and festivals including The Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Indianapolis’ Jazz Artists Musicale, Chicago’s Big Horn Festival and the Los Angeles Classic.
The hot quintet Rex Allen’s Swing Express has recorded four albums, including one from its 1994 tour of Germany, and a KJAZ radio air date form the band’s long engagement at the Claremont Hotel in Oakland, CA
Leonard Feather in the Los Angeles Times called him “A splendid trombonist,” and PSA Magazine said Rex Allen is “one of the brightest young stars of Jazz.”
Rex believes that “people want to hear music from the heart, and I think that’s what Dixieland and Swing are all about – it’s timeless music that’s just as fresh and alive as it was 40 and 50 years ago!” The Mississippi Rag notes: “When he says that the best years of jazz lie ahead and that we need a revitalization rather than a repeat, the power he puts behind those words makes one want to lead the crusade.”