Allan studied in London with the then legendary Max Abrams through his teenage years and subsequently went on to study with World Champion Pipe Band drummer Alex Duthart, Dave Hassell and Peter Erskine. In 2002 he went to Toronto to study with Jim Blackley and made frequent return visits. Jim’s influence was deeply profound and inspiring, opening up a thoroughly natural, musical and intuitive way of playing and teaching drums. Allan is now a respected player and teacher in his own right, attracting students that are keen to take their playing to another level based on the time honoured application of fundamental skills performed with respect and excellence.
Growing up in a house with a musical background of Duke Ellington, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and the Rolling Stones, Allan's interest in all things musical was kindled at an early age. Seeing the movie "Drum Crazy" featuring Gene Krupa and hearing the drums and bugles of the local Boy's Brigade fuelled his passion further. At the age of 8, after making a complete nuisance of himself and still under age, Allan was allowed to join the local Corps of Drums for rehearsals.
Early influences were many and varied... Inspiration came from drummers such as Warren "Baby" Dodds, Chick Webb, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Jo Jones, Sonny Payne, Mel Lewis, Shelly Manne, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, Philly Joe Jones, Billy Higgins, Tony Williams and Jack DeJohnette, to name a few!
Mix those many influences up with contemporary icons such as Jim Keltner, Jeff Porcaro, Steve Gadd, Rick Marotta, Carlos Vega, Steve Jordan, Levon Helm, Peter Erskine, Jeff Hamilton, Joey Baron, Keith Carlock, Brian Blade and Bill Stewart, to name a few more, and you begin to get an idea of the broad range of styles and influences on his playing.
In a career currently spanning 45 years, Allan has worked in recording, television and radio studios, concert halls, cruise ships, theatres, arenas, night clubs, casinos, hotels ballrooms and on numerous festival stages, indoors and outdoors, playing and teaching many varied styles of music in a diverse range of ensembles.
His playing has endeared him, both in recording studios and in concert, to a wide variety of artists such as Smokey Robinson, Randy Crawford, Cleo Laine, The Four Tops, The Drifters, The Temptations, The Three Degrees, Hot Chocolate, Maria Muldaur, Georgie Fame, Lulu, Petula Clarke, Cliff Richard, Johnny Cash, "Boxcar" Willie, David Soul, Scott Walker, Ute Lemper, Jerry Lewis, Maria Freidman, Shirley Bassey, Barbara Cooke and Chita Rivera.
TV and Radio credits include Top Of The Pops, East Enders, Wogan, Ask Aspel, Thames Arts, The Generation Game, London Tonight, Pebble Mill at 1, The Human Factor, Comic Relief, Playschool, Open House, The News Huddlines, Children In Need, The Royal Variety Performance and Live at the London Palladium.
Allan has worked with many major orchestras including the LSO, RPO, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Radio Orchestra, Danish Radio Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, English National Ballet, BBC Big Band (1982-86) and the Danish Radio Big Band in Copenhagen.
Musical theatre became a big part of Allan’s regular work early on and he has anchored many shows in London’s West End, and on national and international tours around the world, both as a principal player and as a valued deputy.
Allan helped me make the tricky transition from university graduate to working professional. His honesty and knowledge of the realities of the music industry really helped me to pin point the skills I needed to develop in order to make a living from playing drums
My time studying with Allan over the last 8 months has been some of my most valuable work. Making some very subtle changes which have made the biggest differences, taking everything slowly has been a real game changer. After a relatively short time of working with his material, everybody noticed a huge difference in my playing, which of course is what’s it’s all about!
It’s a privilege studying with Allan, his lessons are always inspiring and motivational. His expert guidance and positive nature instills confidence in me allowing me to expand my creativity. He has helped me to improve my time, sound, co-ordination as well as many other aspects. I’m extremely grateful to have him support me on my musical journey and would highly recommend him to anyone who wishes to improve as a musician.
I'm ever grateful to Allan for the lessons he gave me during two years of very inspiring & important study. I feel that Allan has a higher level of understanding when it comes to giving the student the relevant tools to play any style they choose to pursue. Allan opened my ears up to new music and gave me a great insight into the art of listening - a musical and refreshing approach, indeed!
Allan has a wealth of playing experience, his teaching is invaluable in the practical ‘real’ world of drumming.