The Jen Allen Quartet
Carriage Barn Concert Series—Fall 2019
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC | Pianist Jen Allen (Visiting Faculty) will be performing music from her upcoming release on Outside In Music entitled Sifting Grace. In the company of her working quartet, she performs original post-modern jazz compositions that function as meditations on themes of discovery and connection, at turns contemplative and energetic, drawing musical inspiration from a wide range of musical forms and rhythms, as well as thematic inspiration from the natural world and personal experience.
The Jen Allen Quartet:
Jen Allen, piano
Kris Allen, saxes
Matt Dwonszyk, bass
Robin Baytas, drums
KRIS ALLEN, saxes
Kris Allen has performed throughout the US and worldwide, and forged a clear conceptual and aural identity as a composer, arranger, and bandleader to match his powerful saxophonic voice. His latest release, Beloved, is his second album for the Truth Revolution Recording Collective. Kris has enjoyed a long career as a sought-after sideman, working in the groups of Illinois Jacquet, Gerald Wilson, Andy Gonzales, Jimmy Greene, Helen Sung, Winard Harper, Andy Laverne, the Mingus Dynasty, Avery Sharpe, Ike Sturm, Gary Smulyan, Jazzmeia Horn, Rogerio Boccato, Kendrick Oliver’s New Life Orchestra, the Curtis Brothers, Jen Allen and Mario Pavone among others. A dedicated educator, Kris is the Lyell B. Clay Artist-in-Residence in Jazz at Williams College, and a Senior Teaching Artist for Litchfield Performing Arts Inc. As a composer, Kris has been honored with numerous awards and commissions as well as a Macdowell Artist’s Colony fellowship and the Connecticut Office of the Arts fellowship. He has collaborated with dancers, poets, and visual artists, as well as musicians from across diverse genres. Kris is a Vandoren Artist and plays Vandoren mouthpieces, reeds and ligatures exclusively.
ROBIN BEYTAS, drums
Prior to taking up the drumset at age 10, Robin performed African drums and choreography with an organization called Madlom, a group of musically inclined youngsters headed by esteemed jazz bassist Reggie Workman and his wife Maya Milenovic. Throughout his youth he played with local rock and jazz bands in the New Jersey/New York area and formed a strong relationship with jazz drummer Billy Hart, a neighbor who quickly became a close mentor. Robin participated in the prestigious Grammy Jazz Ensembles, where he played at the Grammy Awards with Kenny Burrell and the late James Moody. He studied with drummers Charli Persip, Winard Harper, and Matt Wilson, and had the opportunity to share the stage with legends such as Jimmy Owens and Junior Mance, all while still in high school. Since then, Robin has earned a bachelors and masters degree in music from the New England Conservatory of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, respectively, during which time he studied under Jason Moran, Miguel Zenon, and Donny McCaslin all while freelancing and performing in bands led by such artists as Claudio Roditi, Rachel Z, and Michael Mayo. He has performed at the Atlanta, Monterey, Playboy Jazz Festivals to name a few. Continuing a busy freelance schedule, Robin is deeply interested in always broadening his musicianship by exploring a diverse range of styles and is devoted to being an open-minded artist and skilled educator.
MATT DWONSZYK, bass
Matt Dwonszyk is an accomplished bassist, composer, arranger and educator from Rocky Hill, CT. He graduated from the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz studying under his mentor and world-renowned bassist, Nat Reeves. Matt then went on to receive his Masters degree from SUNY Purchase College. He has been living in Brooklyn, New York the past five years but still frequents back home to Connecticut to perform. Matt has shared the bandstand with world-renowned jazz musicians such as Steve Davis, Harold Mabern, Jazzmeia Horn, Bennie Wallace, Dr. Eddie Henderson, Herlin Riley among many others. In 2018, Matt toured through Russia apart of the Rainy Days Jazz Festival. He frequently performs at some of the top jazz clubs in New York City including Smalls Jazz Club, Dizzy's Coca Cola Club, Smoke and the Blue Note. Matt's debut recording, "Wonderful World", was released May of 2019. He continues to perform with his group, the Dwonztet, featuring some of the top jazz musicians in the world today.
For more information, please see the Facebook Event.