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Jazz duo at the MAC in Parksville

The Jan. 29 show is at 2:30 p.m. at the McMillan Arts Centre
Mike Allen

Jazz at the MAC is back this Sunday with duo Mike Allen and Miles Black.

The Jan. 29 show is at 2:30 p.m. at the McMillan Arts Centre (133 McMillan St., Parksville).

Tickets are $20 or $17 for Oceanside Community Arts Council members. Tickets are available online (, at the MAC box office, by phone (250-248-8185) or at Cranky Dog Music in Parksville. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.

Allen, a saxophonist, and Black, a pianist, released a new album Bob’s Piano on Jan. 10.

Allen said the album features music from and Black and himself, as well as the late pianist Bob Murphy. Allen said six of the 10 songs are with Black, playing Murphy’s favourite music tunes and standards on Murphy’s piano.

“The kind of interesting thing about the album is, it’s the finishing of an unfinished work,” said Allen of the album which he started recording with Murphy in 2015.

Allen said he and Black finished recording Bob’s Piano in the summer of 2015 in Murphy’s studio with his piano.

While the album includes four original pieces from Murphy and an original piece from Black, Allen said there will be well-known standards such as Waves, Embraceable You and Stella By Starlight.

“It’s all tunes Bob loved to play,” Allen said. “The whole thing is sort of a loving tribute to Bob Murphy.”

Allen said he and Black have been playing in various ensembles together since 1995.

When Allen first arrived in Vancouver, Murphy was the first artist he performed with. Black was the second.

“The first two people I performed with were two of my favourite pianists,” Allen said. “I lucked out right off the bat.”

For their performance in Parksville, Allen said, they’re going to play some music on the new CD and some music that’s not on the CD.

“We’re also going to talk a little bit about the album and the genesis of it,” Allen said.

When he and Black play together, Allen said, they like a balance of pieces such as some ballads, up-tempo pieces, blues and swing.

“We like to kind of cover all the bases of jazz when we play concerts,” Allen said.

He said when the two of them play together, there’s a dialogue between the two of them, adding that they play off each other really well.

“There is this telepathy going on, kind of like one person is playing,” Allen said.

Throughout the concert, Allen said, there is a good balance between he and Black. Allen said there will probably be some piano solos and some saxophone solos.

“There will be some parts where Miles is leading, and I’m kind of accompanying him” said Allen, adding that the reverse will happen with him leading and Black accompanying.

“We’re both arrangers and composers,” Allen said. “We’re very tuned into exploring composition and being arrangers on the fly while playing.”

For more information on Allen, and the upcoming concert, visit

Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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