Bernie Allen Profile

Chris Bourke
25 Feb 2014

For over half a century Bernie Allen’s name has been hidden in the credits of many recordings, films and TV shows that involve New Zealand music.

While jazz is his first love, and the saxophone his preferred instrument, Allen is a multi-instrumentalist and arranger whose work ranges from early Johnny Devlin sessions to soundtracks of TV shows such as Under the Mountain.

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Auckland Star, June 1963
Radio Times (with Bernie Allen's Radio Times Band)
Bernie Allen Tentette at Fagels' Jazz Club, Federal Street, Auckland 1959
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
Bernie Allen in the mid 1960s
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
Merv Thomas and Bernie Allen with Johnny Devlin, centre.
Photo credit: Merv Thomas Collection
Ken Bartrum Band at Auckland's Orange Ballroom early 1957
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
Bernie Allen (on the right) playing rock and roll in 1957
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
Four Auckland bandleaders ready for their residencies at the Oriental Ballroom, Symonds Street, early 1960s. From left: Bernie Allen, Bill Sevesi, Merv Thomas and Al Patchett
Photo credit: Phil Warren Collection
Bernie Allen and partner, Apra Silver Scroll, 1978
Bernie Allen and band at Embers
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
John Rimmer, Ashley Heenan (New Zealand Writer-Director of Apra), Bob Hughes (Chairman of Apra) and Bernie Allen - Apra Silver Scroll, 1977
Merv Thomas and the Prophets, Crystal Palace, 1962 (L-R): Bernie Allen, Brian Spence, Morrin Cooper, Stewart Parsons, and Merv Thomas. Obscured is bass player Bernie Hanssen. 
Photo credit: Merv Thomas Collection
Phil Warren with bandleaders and arrangers, Wayne Senior (left), and Bernie Allen (centre), 1976
Union dues: the New Zealand Musician’s Union executive committee arrive in Hamilton to form a sub-branch, 1964. From left: Bernie Allen, bass-player Spike Donovan, Morrin Cooper president, Tom Skinner secretary, Viv Coombes vice-president, and pianist Lyall Laurent
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
Apra Silver Scroll, 1977 (L-R): Pat Bell of Apra NZ, Bernie Allen, and Bob Hughes, chairman of Apra. 
Auckland Bandleaders at the Oriental Ballroom, Symonds Street, early 1960s. From left: Bernie Allen, Al Patchett, Bill Sevesi and Merv Thomas
The Bernie Allen Big Band playing in a club in Swanson Street, Auckland
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
Corporate gig during the 1990s with Bernie Allen on alto saxophone, Kim Paterson on trumpet, an unidentified saxophonist, Barry Young on drums, Alan Quennell on guitar. Pianist is thought to be Phil Broadhurst.
Photo credit: Kim Paterson collection
Bernie Allen at Auckland Town Hall with Len Hutchinson
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
Bernie Allen
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
Merv Thomas and Bernie Allen, many years after their collaboration at the Jive Centre - Birkenhead Library, 2016.
Photo credit: Merv Thomas Collection
The Crystal Palace, Mt Eden Road, Auckland, 6 August, 1960. Bernie Allen at left with crossed arms, Merv Thomas holding trombone, and singing trio The Deuces (from left): Nuki Waaka, Robin Waata, George Tumahai.
Photo credit: Rykenberg - Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 1269-B0752-29
Bernie Allen at an Auckland Town Hall rock and roll show with Lynn Christie
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
Goodnight Kiwi Theme
Bernie Allen at the Gables, Auckland.
Photo credit: Dennis Huggard
The Arthur Skelton band at the Peter Pan Ballroom, Auckland 1958
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
Bernie Allen at The Auckland Town Hall, June 1957
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
Bernie Allen Big Band at the Peter Pan Cabaret, Auckland.
Photo credit: Bernie Allen Collection