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John Allee | Bardfly

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Blues: Jazzy Blues Moods: Type: Acoustic
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by John Allee

Songs from Shakespeare served with a Be-bop twist. "A throwback to hipper days when beat poets droned their lines over the coolest of cool jazz, all wafting in smoke-filled coffee houses...Terrific." (All About Jazz)
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Bardfly Blues / Samingo
8:33 $0.99
2. Until the Break of Day
2:55 $0.99
3. Tomorrow Is St. Valentine's Day
4:35 $0.99
4. Philomel / Hold Thy Peace
3:43 $0.99
5. Mistress Mine
3:06 $0.99
6. Sigh No More
5:28 $0.99
7. The Hungry Lion
3:02 $0.99
8. Green Willow
4:12 $0.99
9. Full Fathom Five
3:10 $0.99
10. Heigh Ho the Holly
3:49 $0.99
11. Come Away Death
3:27 $0.99
12. Never Come Again
5:40 $0.99
13. The Wind and the Rain
5:21 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Bardfly" is a new collection of songs composed, arranged, adapted and performed by John Allee backed by a quintet of top-notch jazz musicians, based on lyrics from the plays of William Shakespeare.

"This truly is the ultimately hip(pest) spoken-word jazz I’ve listened to in several years…John just KICKS out the word jams on this splendid aural adventure...if you don’t purchase another album this year – GET this one…" (Contemporary Fusion Reviews)

"The beauty and multi-leveled appeal of this album is that Shakespeare lovers and non-lovers can both dig in. The vocals and musicianship are top shelf. And, better yet, that cool vibe one senses in the opening, stays intact throughout, balanced with superb ballads." (Making a Scene)

A record that finds a sweet spot you didn’t know you were looking for, this is one of those cool diversions that slyly moves from appetizer to main course before you realize it." (Midwest Record)

"An otherworldly, super-literate and supremely swinging realm that finds the veteran stage and TV actor, singer-songwriter and all-around creative hyphenate fusing his dual lifelong passions for all things Shakespeare and jazz." (Broadway World)

ˈbärd-ˌflī/ n. (pl. -ies) informal: a be-bop balladeer who spends much time drinking in Shakespeare: "a verse-swinging bardfly."

"Now entertain conjecture of a time – maybe it's 1598, maybe it's 1958, maybe it's today – the date's ambiguous, but the locale is definitely seedy – an out-of-the-way jazz club called 'We Three Kings,' about which the best thing you can say is the piano's in tune and everybody's been vaccinated ..."

So begins this album of unconventional, humorous, and emotional songs inspired by the immortal Bard of Avon, Willy "The Shake" Shakespeare.

Feste "The Bardfly" Johnson (whose alter ego is Actor-Singer-Songwriter John Allee) has been working up some tunes cobbled together from a few scraps of paper of indeterminate origin - a used hymnal with a Property of Stratford Unified stamp on the inside cover, an unpaid utility bill, the back of a Dear Romeo letter - even a few discarded remnants of a First Folio. Blues, ballads, hymns, recitations, and swingin' ditties are all on the bar menu. Indeed, all your favorite catches (that's 'songs' in Early Modern English parlance) are here: Bardfly Blues/Samingo, Until the Break of Day, Tomorrow is St. Valentine's Day, Philomel/Hold thy Peace, Mistress Mine, Sigh No More, The Hungry Lion, Green Willow, Full Fathom Five, Heigh Ho the Holly, Come Away Death, Never Come Again, The Wind and the Rain

The assembled personnel are a tight little combo he met when they were all working downtown at Jack's Slacks For Less over on East Cheap Boulevard. With Allee on vocals, the quintet features some of the best jazz players in the Los Angeles metropolitan area: the fiery-fingered Mahesh "Ool-Ya-Koo" Balasooriya on piano, Aaron "Not the Villainous Aaron" McLendon on drums, Dominic "Thorough Bush, Thorough Brier" Thiroux on bass, Javier "Yourself a Merry Little" Vergara on Tenor Saxophone, and Matt Von 'Two, Three" Roderick on trumpet.

Album credits:

John Allee, Vocals
Mahesh Balasooriya, Piano
Aaron McLendon, Drums
Dominic Thiroux, Bass
Javier Vergara, Tenor Sax
Matt Von Roderick, Trumpet

Produced by John Allee
Recorded by Dori Amarilio at Casa Amarilio Studio, Studio City, CA, May 2019
Mixed by Jeff Peters at The Pie Studios, Pasadena, CA
Mastered by Nate Wood at Kerseboom Mastering, Brooklyn, NY
Art Direction by John Allee
Cover Art by Michelle Feeley
Photography by Rory Lewis

All songs composed, arranged, and adapted by John Allee, based on lyrics from the plays of William Shakespeare

Bardfly Blues/Samingo
words by William Shakespeare/John Allee

Until the Break of Day
words by William Shakespeare/John Allee

Tomorrow is St. Valentine's Day
words by William Shakespeare/John Allee

Philomel/Hold thy Peace
words by William Shakespeare

Mistress Mine
words by William Shakespeare

Sigh No More
words by William Shakespeare/John Allee

The Hungry Lion
words by William Shakespeare

Green Willow
words by William Shakespeare/John Allee

Full Fathom Five
words by William Shakespeare

Heigh Ho, the Holly
words by William Shakespeare

Come Away Death
words by William Shakespeare

Never Come Again
words by William Shakespeare/John Allee

The Wind and the Rain
words by William Shakespeare/John Allee

All songs copyright 2019
John Allee/Portuguese Knees Music (ASCAP)

Special thanks to Susan Allee, Pete & Patty Allee, Moira Walley-Beckett, Barbara Ross & Michael Bassett, Tim Wahl & Julia Strickland

And thanks to Mahesh, to Aaron, Dominic, Javier, Matt, to Dori, Jeff and Nate, to Michelle and Rory,
to Jeremiah McNulty Graphics, Michael Lee, Vito Viscuso and Audio Rents, and to Kathleen Ross-Allee.

And ever thanks to Adam Ritz, Armin Shimerman & Kitty Swink, Brian & Kahea Mooney, Bridget Hoffman, Chas Harris, Chip Allee, Crystal Robbins & Jim Czerwinski, David Bowen & Bennett Rink, Debra Allee & Dennis Mincieli, Dennis Allee, Don McManus, Don Schlossman, Duane Benjamin, Gayle Stringer & Nancy Nickelson, Gigi Bermingham, Jane Mortifee, Janine Paver & Eric Brown, Jocelyn Towne & Simon Helberg, Joshua Beckett, Julia & Walter Hamann, Lauren & Marc Vahanian, Lisa Abend, Lisa Vidal, Liza Seneca, Luke Stratte McClure, Marnie & Peter Gelfman, Michael Lennox, Michael Marcel, Michael Michetti, Michael Silversher, Peter Van Norden, Phillip Brock, Randall Willis, Reba Thomas, Richard Hellesen, Roberta Freeman, Sean McHugh, Stephen Lloyd, Steven Robman, Susan Simonson, Sy Devore, Timothy Smith, Trish & Andreas Freund, and to all the groovy and gentle folks who backed this project on Kickstarter.

"I first met Shakespeare in the second grade while attending the Broadway musical adaptation of 'Two Gentlemen of Verona.' The show made a big impression on me, especially for its inventive use of frisbee tossing from the box seats, and the incorporation of a litany of expletives that are like so much ear candy to a seven year old. Will and I hit it off and stayed in touch and our first collaboration came ten years later in a production of Benjamin Britten's musical adaptation of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' directed by theatre impresario Gordon Davidson for LA Opera, which led to a lifelong partnership that continues to this day.

I wrote many of the 'Bardfly' songs for, and first performed them in a theatrical production entitled 'Barfly Shakespeare,' written and directed by Matthew Leavitt to whom I owe my gratitude for setting me on to this project." -JA



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