Born in Philadelphia, Dave Allen began performing and composing at the age of 15. After discovering the music of John Coltrane, Pat Metheny, and Keith Jarrett, he moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Jack Wilkins and John Abercrombie. Over the next twenty-five years Allen performed with many of the most respected musicians in jazz today, including Mark Turner, Miguel Zenon, Joey Baron, David Liebman, Ravi Coltrane, Dave Binney, Jeff Ballard, Seamus Blake, Donny McCaslin, Marcus Gilmore, Dan Weiss, Tyshawn Sorey, Drew Gress, and many others. He has toured with his own projects and as a sideman throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He has released three critically acclaimed recordings, the most recent being "The Sky Above Her", and has been written about in the New York Times, Downbeat Magazine and Jazz Times Magazine. All About Jazz writes: "Allen has found a true voice, his effortless technique downplays the apparent complexity, paradoxically creating a cool surface sheen that has a white heat glowing beneath it...music that seduces both the body and mind, again and again."
As a composer, Allen is known for his challenging but lyrical music, which features multi-metered, rhythmic layering, as well as intricate chromatic-based harmonies. As an educator, Allen specializes in exploring modern rhythmic and harmonic vocabulary in both improvisation and composition. Allen has been a faculty member of the New York Jazz Academy and The Bahcesahir University graduate program. He has also taught at New York University, Temple University, and is currently a senior lecturer at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.