Allee was influenced by many

Famous jazz artist has played with Buddy Rich, among others

Steve Allee is a jazz musician from Indianapolis, Indiana. He graduated from Ben Davis High School in 1968.

Allee began his music career at 19 being with the Buddy Rich Orchestra, before he was drafted into the military service during the Vie

Steve Allee _ pictnam War. He’s written for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and has written the score for the documentary “Something To Cheer About.”

His latest album, “Dragonfly,” was released in 2008. During his time here at Ben Davis, he liked to hang out at Frisch’s Big Boy, The Huddle, Shapiro’s and jazz clubs (“I always got kicked out of because of my age”).

When asked who influenced him to become a musician, he says that there wasn’t really just one person, but many things.

“I don’t think there was one person who helped me arrive at that decision” Allee said. “My uncle used to play a wide variety of music and that helped nurture the interest and curiosity. When I heard my first jazz recordings — Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis — I was particularly attracted to that style.”

Allee stated that he decided to perform professionally with some help from his friend.

“I did have a friend my age who played drums and went to Franklin Central that was already playing professionally five nights a week. I did think that was very cool,” Allee said. “When I was a junior in high school I was offered a steady weekend engagement at the Indianapolis Athletic Club with a six piece band.

“I joined the musicians union and played there for two years, saving up money to buy my first piano and cheap car. There was no music so everything had to be learned by ear and we played 60-70 songs a night. I was hooked.”

Allee has performed many times. He’s performed with many musicians like The Randy Brecker Quartet, David “Fathead” Newman, The Rich Perry Quartet and many others.

“In August, I played at the Chicago Jazz Festival with the Rufus Reid Sextet for a few thousand people and got two standing ovations. That was pretty cool,” Allee says. “We just played a tribute concert to Indy’s trombone legend, J.J. Johnson at the Indy Jazz Fest with Steve Turre and Javon Jackson. That was very gratifying. Even if we’re playing for a very small audience and they’re really into it, that is very enjoyable as well.”

When asked about how much of an impact Ben Davis has made on his life, Allee spoke a lot about former band and choir directors.

“One of the band directors, Fred Niemeyer, was very influential and encouraging. He even let me join the Dance Band when I was a freshman. He also encouraged me to switch from accordion to piano. A move I will forever be grateful for,” says Allee.

“Geraldine Miller, the choir director was also very inspiring to me (and many, many other students.) She encouraged me to compose and arrange for the choir and would happily have the choir try them out. She even offered me to practice on the grand piano and listen to the recordings in the choir room during the “off” periods. She was a wonderful, inspiring teacher. Ronald Doak and Ray Horton were also great band directors. The directors took our marching band to the World’s Fair in Montreal, Canada and New York City. An unforgettable experience.”