Music.

Bardfly

New Album Out Now!

"With Bardfly, Allee—a well-known thespian himself—adds a unique perspective on Shakespeare's words on a baker's dozen selections. The music and arrangements are all Allee's—and they are terrific. They are compelling to the point of quasi-enhancement. The entire album is engaging and a throwback to hipper days when beat poets droned their and Allen Ginsberg's and Lawrence Ferlinghetti's lines over the coolest of cool jazz, all wafting in smoke-filled coffeehouses...Backed by a fine jazz ensemble, it is Allee's slick composing, dramatic delivery, and acting chops that make this recording a standout."

- All About Jazz

"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

Featured in JAZZIZ - New Music Monday

"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

​"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

Bardfly

Songs from Shakespeare with a Be-bop Twist

 

 

A new collection of unconventional, humorous, and romantic songs inspired by the immortal Bard of Avon, Willy "The Shake" Shakespeare, composed, arranged, and adapted by John Allee based on lyrics from the plays of William Shakespeare.

 

Showcasing his wide array of talents as a vocalist, composer, lyricist and dramatic performer, the eclectic 13-track set – in which Allee assumes the persona of Feste “The Bardfly” Johnson – mines compelling verses from a wide swath of the Bard’s canon from Othello to Henry IV as a foundation for everything from blues, ballads and hymns to compelling spoken word and swingin’ ditties.

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

​Bardfly

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

 

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 theatrcial production entitled "Barfly Shakespeare," written and directed by Matthew Leavitt to whom I owe my gratitude for setting me on to this project. -JA

Click on a track below for a sample. Click         to read the lyrics.

Also available on iTunes/Apple Music and other retailers.

"All She Would Say Was I'm Cold"

Music Video from the album Expect Delays

Expect Delays
Solo Album

Expect Delays is the follow up to John (a.k.a. Johnnnye) Allee's acclaimed album "Unless It Isn’t" which was called a “stunning suite of songs” in American Songwriter magazine.  

 

Allee, who is a recipient of the ASCAP/Sammy Cahn Award for excellence in lyric writing, produced this recording in collaboration with songwriter/producer Phil Swann (Clay Aiken, Lee Ann Womack, Blake Shelton). Jeff Peters (The Beach Boys, Brian Setzer, Stray Cats) was the mixing and mastering engineer.

 

From the slow, gospel tinged “On Melrose” where our narrator finds himself contemplating the dimples in the seat where his girlfriend once sat, to the propulsive and pianistically virtuosic “I Fail,” a tale of a destructive, but inescapable love affair, the songs on this recording have a confessional, deeply-layered intensity along with a wry and playful soulfulness that percolates throughout.  Ballads such as “When Love Comes Down” and “All She Would Say Was I’m Cold” have a theatrical immediacy, with “Sugar Pop” and “Why Couldn’t We Just Forget About Life for A While?” adding a bit of R&B and jazzy fun.  In the lament “All She Would Say Was I’m Cold,” an untrustworthy barfly can’t quite figure out why he’s been left, and in “Instant Replay” the singer grapples with the consequences of leaving but not letting go. Things pick up in the love department with “The Right Parts Combine” and “Lucky Day Girl,” each providing a groove to match the catch, and the serene “Quiet Company” brings us in close with the feel of an old-school standard.

 

Recorded live at the legendary Village Recorders, "Expect Delays" is an intimate set of piano-vocals that proves to be worth the long wait since "Unless it Isn't," once again highlighting Allee’s finely tuned storytelling, personal and poetical style, and sophisticated, emotionally resonant musicianship.

 

Expect Delays
Recorded at Village Recorders, Los Angeles, CA
Mixed, Mastered and Additional Recording at The Pie Studios, Pasadena, CA
Produced by John Allee and Phil Swann
Mixing and Mastering Engineer: Jeff Peters
Engineer: Gabe Burch

 

John Allee: Piano and Vocals


Assistant Engineer: Alan Demoss
Album Photo: Dylan Patrick
Graphics: Jeremiah McNulty Design

Special thanks to Kathleen, Mom, Dad, Phil Swann, Jeff Peters, Tina Morris, Moira Walley-Beckett, Helen Slater, Marvin Etzioni

"With his solo debut, UNLESS IT ISN'T, Allee reveals a stunning suite of songs that acknowledges his theatrical history and honors his metamorphosis into a modern-day troubadour." - American Songwriter Magazine

Click on a track below for a sample and to read the lyrics.

Also available on iTunes/Apple Music and other retailers.

Click on a track below for a sample and to read the lyrics.

"Songcraft with cinematic touches, intricate, original melodies and winning vocal performances... Listen to (Allee's) epic tune, "On the Kern County Line." - Music Connection

Unless It Isn't

John's Debut Album

 

 

 

Unless It Isn't is an earthy blend of stripped-down, story driven folk-pop/roots-rock freshly brewed and served up steaming from the American roadhouse. Combining a gentle and fluid voice with acoustic piano, acoustic and electric guitars, and drums, Johnnye's unconventional songs are at once wry, intimate, soulful, cinematic, and poignant.

 

From the rootsy, ice-house feel of “Everything Will Be All Right,” to the mournful country-flavor of “On the Kern County Line” and “Texas to Tuesday,” the songs on this album have a personal musical style that is grounded in the traditions of the great singer-songwriters from the sixties and seventies. “I'm the Apostrophe” and “Fire is Yellow” take on a heat-hazed swampy intensity with “Torn” adding a measure of ethereal ambience and “Half on the Side of the Leaver” lending gospel tinged raw-boned grit. “That's the Thing of It” introduces an almost symphonic piano-based pop sound, while “A Simple Transpicuous Philippic; or, You’re Not Nice” plays it folk-traditional in an homage to Paul Simon's early send up of Bob Dylan. “Another New York Knockout,” “Hidden in the Crosshairs,” and “I Love You Like This” display crisply poetic lyrics and haunting melodies, with a rich sense of harmony in the elegantly simple arrangements.

 

Unless It Isn't
Recorded and Mixed at Private Island Trax, Los Angeles, CA
Produced by John Allee
Recorded and Mixed by Christopher Henry

 

John (Johnnye) Allee: Vocals, Piano

Kevin Holmes: Guitars

John Harvey: Drums and Percussion

Moira Walley-Beckett: Backup vocals

 

Assistant Engineer: Glenn Connelly
Mastered by Dave Collins at Collins Audio, Los Angeles, CA
Album Photo: Adam Ritz
Thanks to Moira (Moiselle) Walley-Beckett, Kevin (Keb' Ho) Holmes, John (Harv) Harvey, Christopher (Chris) Henry, and to Kathleen (about whom, every song is written...)

Also available on iTunes/Apple Music and other retailers.

© John Allee

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