Big Jim Allen
Video: "Pick the Course and We'll Set the Sail"
Video: Catching up with Jim and "Glad I Took the Time"
Video: "Talk To Me"
Video: Big Jim and Elan Chalford!
Video: "Small Swig"
Big Jim Allen grew up and was musically influenced in jazz, folk and acoustic music by his home town of Chicago, but he was eventually "professionally deported" to the beautiful Florida Suncoast.
Jim got his start in music at age seven, doing improv jazz on the trumpet as early as sixth grade with a small music studio band. A simple Beatle book was all it took in 1964 to begin his career as a guitarist, doing solo folk and acoustic shows through high school, college, and the "formative years of adulthood." Entering into the music business full time in 1974 with an established nostalgia band called the Keystones, Jim spent the next 3 years playing 50's& 60's rock in a suburban Chicago pizza parlor circuit. Then in 1977, it was time to move forward with the music. That year, he was a founding member of the Midwest show band called Syndicated Sound (later renamed Cook County in 1984), and hit the road as a multi-instrumentalist in the Midwest show band circuit, traveling to 10 states, Canada, and a stop in the Caribbean. Along with guitar, bass, banjo and mandolin, Jim played all the brass instruments (trumpet and trombone families) in the band, some keyboards and drums, and even a little flute. But those instruments were really a background to what Jim really loves to do ... entertain, sing and have a good time on stage.
Leaving the music business in 1986 for greener (hmmm...color of money?) pastures in the advertising industry, Big Jim concentrated his creative efforts on two things...fingerstyle acoustic guitar and professional voice-overs for broadcast and industrial videos, commercials and training programs. His home studio was active with both projects.
Now, upon returning to the entertainment field in 2008, Big Jim's new project "Guitars, Gizmos, and Good Times" takes him back to what he enjoys the most...entertaining all generations with live music and production. In a nutshell, he is performing a live, "produced-on-the-fly" musical production through the use of "gizmos" to enhance both vocals and the guitar/instrumental side of the show. No prerecorded backup tapes...all produced "right before your very ears."
I guess you could say that it's kind of like a "musical high wire act working without a net." BUT, a lot of good times and fun.