Simon Allen began his career with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Pendulum Jazz Orchestra, performing alongside the likes of Jazz Stars Art Themen, Gerard Presencer, Jamie Cullum and Peter King.
After being a winner in the Daily Telegraph ‘Young Jazz’ competition, and a finalist in the ‘Young Jazz Musician of the Year’, Simon gained a place at the Royal Academy of Music, and was selected to join UK drummer Clark Tracey's acclaimed Quintet, winning further awards and touring the UK over 7 years.
Simon is also a member of the Laurence Cottle All Star Big Band, and works with Colin Towns Mask Orchestra for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Matthew Herbert Big Band,
“They provided the perfect platforms for the sparky, punchily eccentric group interplay that characterises Tracey performances, Simon Allen in particular proving, with his joyously uninhibited, ebullient sound on both tenor and alto, the pianist's perfect foil (a role played over the years by some distinguished predecessors, Peter King the most obvious)” - Chris Parker, "Senior Moment" (Stan Tracey) album launch review
“Allen, the latest in a long line of gifted Tracey saxophone -recruits, brings a searing urgency...... with Allen injecting an -anthemic soul-jazzy heat (an unfamiliar -ingredient for a Tracey album)” - John Fordham, The Guardian
“Allen's questing inventiveness and thrilling rhythmic interplay” – Brisbane Jazz Club
“He knows how to produce a luminous, floating tone on alto sax, has an impressive technique, and constructs his solos with maturity and confidence” – Sholto Byrnes, The Independent
“Allen is the backbone to some of the album's best songs.......the overall experience is rewarding, due largely to saxophonist Simon Allen's dressing up what could be a standard fusion solo with a heavy free jazz accent” – All About Jazz review of Blake Wilner’s “The Reprieve”
“He was able to steal the show from under the feet of a band of masters” – Derby Jazz Club
touring around Germany, China, Belgium and Poland. He has appeared at major UK venues and festivals including Ronnie Scott’s, the Barbican and Brecon Jazz Festival, and worked with an astonishing array of top musicians from the jazz and pop world.
Between 2005-2013 Simon was featured in the late Stan Tracey CBE’s various groups, and is featured on his final two quartet recordings, as well as octet and big band album releases. Simon appeared on Jools Holland’s “Later” TV show performing a track from the album "Senior Moment".
Outside of jazz, Simon leads a horn section which among others has backed Phil Collins, Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney. He has recorded and played live with Robbie Williams, Beverley Knight, Katie Melua, Jamie Cullum and many others. He is featured on the soundtracks of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” and Sujoy Ghosh’s “Aladin”, and in 2014 played for the Strictly Come Dancing UK arena tour.
Simon has also recently released an album under his own name, “Any Minute Now – Simon Allen Quintet”, featuring Laurence Cottle, Martin Shaw, Tom Cawley and Mike Bradley (see "contact" page for more information).
In 2014 Simon was appointed Head of Jazz at the prestigious Purcell School of Music.
Soppin' the Biscuit - Simon Allen Quintet