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Triple play: Amstrong tribute band blows triple rumpets

All that jazz: Brooklynite Eddie Allen will perform a tribute to jazz legend Louis Armstrong on Oct. 13 to kick off the Kingsborough “Jazz at the Lighthouse” series.
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He’ll blow you away!

A Fort Greene jazz musician and his six-piece band will present a swinging tribute to music legend Louis Armstrong when they kick off the Jazz at the Lighthouse series in Manhattan Beach on Oct. 13. Trumpet player Eddie Allen said that the band 3hree for Louis will play fresh versions of Armstrong’s classics by adding their own modern musical twists — and three times the horns.

“What we’ve done with his music is take compositions or tunes that he’s made famous and we’ve re-arranged them or updated them from their original presentation and worked them out for three trumpets,” said Allen. “Stylistica­lly, all the pieces that we do have more of a modern spin, but you can still hear the original element in what he presented.”

Allen not only amps up the horns, but he typically changes up the harmonic structures, chords, and tempos of Armstrong’s music. For the Oct. 13 concert, Allen and two other trumpeters will be accompanied by piano, acoustic bass, and drums as they play Armstrong favorites including “Hello Dolly,” “What a Wonderful World,” “Mack the Knife,” and “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue.”

Allen originally hails from Wisconsin, but he settled in Brooklyn in 1989 because of its jazz scene and friendly neighborhood vibes, he said.

“The jazz scene throughout New York in general is constantly changing, but there’s still a lot of places to perform,” he said. “Brooklyn is still a viable hub to connect with musicians, so it’s still really a nice place to be.”

The musician also arranges and composes his own tunes, and has blown his trumpet for pop, Latin, and rhythm and blues bands, as well as performing on Broadway, with a recent stint in the orchestra for “The Color Purple.”

Allen said he fell in love with jazz “accidentally” as a youngster, hearing the music — along with its classical counterparts — in the background of Saturday morning cartoons.

“I didn’t know what it was,” he said, “but one of the things that I later discovered was that Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington had a similar phrase, they’d say, ‘There’s only two kinds of music — good and bad.”

Allen said Brooklynites can appreciate the quality tunes of the show even if they are not die-hard jazz devotees.

“If you’re not a jazz fan, that’s fine,” he said. “Don’t come to hear jazz — just come to hear some good music.”

Eddie Allen and 3hree For Louis at Kingsborough College Lighthouse (2001 Oriental Boulevard at Decatur Ave. in Manhattan Beach, www.onstageatkingsborough.org). Oct. 13 at 7 pm. $40 ($38 students and seniors).

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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