Tom Allen


Despite many years of post-secondary education and diligent practicing, Tom Allen is only an occasional trombonist. He went to McGill, Boston University, and Yale, and has the degrees to prove it. He toured Canada and the U.S. with a brass quintet and can deliver the same beefy laughter issued by low brass players the world over. He even, he’s proud to say, filled in with both the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (when it was still led by the uncompromising Mel Lewis) and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, but in the end, he became a storyteller.

It is not his fault. His grandfathers on both sides were preachers, as are several other family members. If it were not for a call from a CBC producer expecting to speak to the distinguished English baritone Sir Thomas Allen, he might well have taken the same route. In terms of the moral and spiritual health of the nation, this, alone, should affirm the importance of the Public Broadcaster.

Through his almost 30 years with the CBC, Tom has filled in on countless shows, created a celebrated series of single-shot videos on classical music history, and hosted his own programs, including Weekender, Fresh Air, and the former national classical music morning show, Music & Company. He is now very happy to be hosting Shift, a multi-genre music show heard daily on CBC Music.

Tom has published three books, hosts many concerts like this one, and has written a series of music and storytelling cabarets with his beloved, the harpist Lori Gemmell. These include Bohemians in Brooklyn, From Weimar to Vaudeville and The Missing Pages. He can’t imagine there is anything else you’d like to know, but if he’s wrong, see his website: www.tomtomallen.com