A little bit of the American south came to Almaty on April 14th when a well-known New Orleans jazz band, Shammar Allen and the Underdawgs, performed at the opening of the Almaty International Jazz Festival. In the first stop of their multi-city Central Asia tour, the band took the Almaty music scene by storm. The audience jumped from their seats to dance and sing along with the vocalist and trumpeter Shamarr Allen who is known for his electrifying performances and diverse music pallette.
Shamarr Allen enchanted the local audience with a repertoire that included jazz, pop, funk, and rock songs.
They continued their U.S. State Department Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau-sponsored tour in a master class at the Almaty Jazz School where they played with local Almaty jazz students. The band shared their New Orleans-style music techniques and inspired students by providing a glimpse of life as a jazz musician in the United States.
Later that evening, Shamarr Allen joined the jazz students on stage on the second night of the Jazz Festival with a rendition of several popular American jazz songs. Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs have left their mark on the Almaty music scene and a lasting impression on aspiring young musicians and general audiences.
Shammar Allen and the Underdawgs Take Astana by Storm
On April 21, 2011 at 7.30 p.m. Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs gave a very successful performance at the Palace of Peace and Accord in Astana. The jazz-loving audience, which included musicians, schoolchildren, college students, diplomats, representatives of NGOs did not remain in their seats for very long. Opening the night with a soulful rendition of Summertime, the frontman Shamarr Allen electrified his audience as he picked up the momentum and transitioned into hip-hop, funk and even rock. Solos by outstanding guitarist Matt Clark and talented pianist Jason Butler captivated the audience, which tapped their feet and clapped along. The frontman engaged his audience in their performance throughout the night by inviting them to sing along, dance – some of them even on stage. When the band performed Michael Jackson and Nirvana hits, the audience was already on their feet and the atmosphere was that of a true rock concert. Students, teachers, diplomats, government employees – some still wearing formal suits – everyone in the hall without exception ended up dancing the night away to the tune of the dynamic band from New Orleans. Shamarr Allen promised to be back and thanked his audience after two encore performances as the reluctant fans lingered around the stage after the show.