"A collection of swinging songs loaded with humor and heart. I love the CD. It's just so much fun."
- Judy Carmichael, Jazz Inspired
“Allee presents a splendid, alternately heartfelt, charming, gently reflective and incisively pointed fictionalized chronicle of colorful characters... A brilliantly poetic storyteller. The joy of the album is never knowing what tempo, vocal timbre, subject or style (jazz, blues, pop, folk, you name it) his powerhouse ensemble is going to treat us to next.”
- Jonathan Widran, JW Vibe
“It is impossible to describe the many impressions that John's narrative musical novel has… The album's 17 tracks are like a movie of our lives. It makes us think, think, reconsider. It touches our essence. It shows humanity.”
- Zsuzsanna Hegedüs, JazzMa
“Appealingly literate lyrics…. Allee has a light voice that has soft, slightly sandy edges and a natural lilt. In another era, one might have called him “hip." My favorite cut is “Until the Money’s Gone"... My foot taps on its own. The song is timeless."
- Alix Cohen, Cabaret Scenes
“His Sammy Cahn Award-winning songwriting skills are stellar...If I were a recording artist, I would gobble-up these excellently written songs and record them myself. John Allee has a way of painting pictures with his words, as though we are watching a film...“John Allee has that same magic as an exceptional songwriter.”
- Dee Dee McNeil, Musical Memoirs
"Superbly performed with a septet of talented musicians...Allee improvises, scats and grooves through his poignant lyrics...Whether he is singing with jazz-infused buoyancy, in a sweet reflective side, in a laid-back pop groove or with dizzying scatting, Allee does it all in surprising ways."
- Paula Edelstein, Sounds of Timeless Jazz
"Allee sings with sardonic wit and writes with the cleverness of Dave Frishberg on this album of originals."
- George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly
“A compelling and richly textured cast of characters and perspectives. Whether they're more inspired by people he has actually met or sparked fully from the imagination of this Renaissance man who's also a playwright and long-careered actor, it's a marvelously motley crew...“The eclectic mix of musical styles has strong elements of jazz, blues, and folk, with projected attitudes that can be wry, dejected, resilient, vulnerable, or cynical. Character pieces recall the chameleon-like M.O. of Randy Newman in the way he steps into the shoes of people from all walks of life. The more poetic and pensive elements are akin to the works of Joni Mitchell."
- Rob Lester, Talkin' Broadway
"John is a talented actor, songwriter, singer, and pianist who assembles a strong supporting band to perform 17 originals. There’s the blues of “Until the Money’s Gone” with Jeff Kaye (t) and Javier Vergara (t-sax) adding sweet harmonies. They swing hard on “Hard Sell”, bounce on “A Typical Paris Affair” featuring Adam Bravo (p). Allee is pleasant all the way through crooning on “Truth Be Told”, and singing convincing pop, blues, and jazz."
- D. Oscar Groomes, O’s Place Jazz Magazine
"Allee is a talented man whose observations on life convey humor and insight. Accompanied by an acoustic band led by a talented pianist, this excellent work demonstrates his skills as a performer in a wide range of genres,
from jazz and blues, to Presley-esque rock'n'roll."
- Hiroshi Ogawa, Jazz Life Japan
"The songwriter and vocalist John Allee doesn’t shy away from jazz, blues and folk on this 4th studio album that enlists some excellent players for songs that make observations about relationships and love... A listen that just might make you examine people and their various positions in your life, Allee and company make for a thoughtful jazz affair that will always be relevant."
- Tom Haugen, Take Effect
“This album is a treasure, for both lovers of vocal jazz and classic poetry. Allee’s new settings stand out for their simple, memorable tunes, and their accurate reflections of Shakespeare’s original dramatic usage. Allee’s faithful treatments of these familiar texts balance against looser interpretations where Allee freely mixes the worlds of Elizabethan theatre and modern jazz.”
- Thomas Cunniffe, Jazz History Online
“Vocalist John Allee does something rather special on Bardfly, his album of Shakespeare music. He creates a sort of Elizabethan/1950s jazz club, which is hosted by Feste, so you know there is going to be some humor in these tracks... totally delicious and ridiculously cool.”
- Music Log by Michael Doherty
"Intriguing and captivating...Whether reciting the lyrics or singing, John Allee is quite an engaging performer. With the splendid backing provided here, he has produced the excellent, delightful jazz-Shakespeare musical fusion, Bardfly."
- In a Blue Mood
"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
"What actor and singer John Allee has done is to underline the lyrical universalism of Shakespeare’s drama…and what makes Allee’s Bardfly unique is the hip interpretation of songs and lines from Henry V, The Tempest,
Othello and others…Allee is so convincing an actor/musician and so evenly in love with jazz and with the Bard that it actually works. He has a great band behind him. No one tries to sound like they’d normally be playing lute and it swings along at a great pace."
- Jazz Journal
“Vocalist John Allee came up with a brilliant idea and it works wonderfully… Fantastic!”
"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
"13 delightful tracks…fun…sensitive…gentle…lively…humorous… the instrumentalists are well up to and beyond the mark…the CD deserves careful listening to catch the full meaning of the lyrics, maybe hearing the album three times would hardly be enough."
- Bebop Spoken Here
Featured in JAZZIZ - New Music Monday
"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
"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
- 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, by vocalist/songwriter John Allee, is simply one of the most delightfully hip albums…It grabs your attention right away, and you find yourself enjoying a journey of words and music that is transfixing. The more you listen to Bardfly, the more you find to enjoy. Bardfly succeeds with flying colors.” - Jersey Jazz
"A clever and seductive gateway to the contrastingly pure beauty of the words melded with melody...Allee's acting and singing are one, with a voice that can be especially soothing or radiate calibrated levels of awe or pleas. With no grandstanding, he steps into the shoes of sage or lovestruck suitor...Bardfly succeeds with flying colors." - Talkin' Broadway
"A supportive band...rich vocals...a super, entertaining set" - O's Place Jazz Newsletter
"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
"Songcraft with cinematic touches, intricate, original melodies and winning vocal performances... Listen to (Allee's) epic tune, "On the Kern County Line." - Music Connection