Geri Antoinette Allen (born June 12, 1957 in Detroit , Michigan ; † June 27, 2017 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania ) was an American jazz pianist , composer , ethnomusicologist and university teacher . Stylistically, she was headstrong and also very versatile: they "could delicately touching and playing elegant, but there was also the other Geri Allen, the poignant, often opposing rhythms" and impressive grooves created
Live and act
Geri Allen received piano lessons from the age of seven. She attended Cass Technical High School in Detroit , where she was a student of Marcus Belgrave . She made her first attempts at jazz in the Detroit Jazz Development Workshop and in the Nation: Afrikan Liberation Arts Ensemble around Haki R. Madhubuti . Until 1979 she studied at Howard University in Washington, DC , where she also taught afterwards; then she took lessons from Kenny Barron in New York . This was followed by a master’s degree in ethnomusicology at the University of Pittsburgh until 1982 , before Allen settled in New York after a tour with Mary Wilson .
In New York she worked with Oliver Lake , Joseph Jarman, and Lester Bowie ; her debut album was made in 1983. She showed more avant-garde elements of her playing in her early album The Printmakers in 1984, accompanied by Anthony Cox and Andrew Cyrille . As a member of the musician collective M-Base , she played with Steve Coleman's band Five Elements, participated in his first three albums in 1985/86 and toured Europe with them in the late 80s. During this time he also worked with Oliver Lake ( Expandable Language , 1984), David Friedman (Shades of Change) , Frank Lowe ( Decision in Paradise , 1985) and Franco Ambrosetti ( Movies and Movies Too , 1986 and '88).
Richard Cook and Brian Morton rated Allen as a tech-savvy pianist whose style combines the most diverse elements of jazz piano history, such as Bud Powell , Monk , echoes of Cecil Taylor and lesser known jazz pianists such as Herbie Nichols and Mary Lou Williams . She is also influenced by non-pianists like Eric Dolphy , whose ideas she reflects in her compositions. "The trance-like, repetitive structures and minimal embellishments of gospel" were clearly perceptible in their playing, at the same time "also a love for the big, bulky loners in piano jazz."
In the second half of the 1980s she worked with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian ; the albums Etudes on Soul Note and Segments on the DIW label were created. In 1990 the trio performed at the New York Club Village Vanguard . With the albums The Nurturer (1990) and Maroons (1992) Geri Allen deepened her interest in compositions and arranged structures in an expanded line-up, with musicians such as Marcus Belgrave and Kenny Garrett . The much praised result of this development was the Verve album The Gathering from 1998, u. a. with Wallace Roney , Robin Eubanks , Vernon Reid , Buster Williams , Lenny White , Mino Cinelu and multi-instrumentalist Dwight Andrews .
Allen also worked with musicians such as Betty Carter (on the live albums The Music Never Stops (1992) and Feed the Fire , 1994), Bobby Hutcherson , Greg Osby , Gary Thomas , Dewey Redman , James Newton , Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette together and has worked on more than a hundred albums, including two CDs by Ornette Coleman ; their regular partners included a. the musicians Arthur Blythe , Julius Hemphill , Lester Bowie and Charles Lloyd . In the film Kansas City by Robert Altman , she played the role of Mary Lou Williams .
Geri Allen has taught as visiting professor at Howard University; she was an associate professor of jazz piano and improvisation at the University of Michigan School of Music, Dance & Theater . In 2013 she moved to the University of Pittsburgh , where she succeeded Nathan Davis as head of the jazz department.
She died in 2017 at the age of 60 from complications from cancer.
Honourings and prices
In the 1993 and 1994 Down-Beat Critic's Poll, Allen was particularly recognized as a talent that deserves more attention. She was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from Howard University, the SESAE Special Achievement Award and the Eubie Blake Award , and in 1996 she was the first woman to receive the prestigious Danish Jazzpar Award .
- The Printmakers with Anthony Cox , Andrew Cyrille , 1984
- Home Grown , solo album, 1985
- Open on All Sides In the Middle with Marcus Belgrave, Rayse Biggs , Mino Cinelu , Steve Coleman, Robin Eubanks, David McMurray , Shahita Nurallah , Jaribu Shahid , Lloyd Storey , Tani Tabbal , 1987
- Twylight with Tani Tabbal, Jaribu Shahid and Sadiq Bey , Eli Fountain , Clarice Taylor Bell , 1989
- In the Year of the Dragon with Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, 1989
- Segments with Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, 1989
- The Nurturer with Marcus Belgrave, Kenny Garrett , Robert Hurst , Jeff Watts , Eli Fountain , 1991
- Live at Village Vanguard with Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, 1991
- Maroons with Marcus Belgrave, Wallace Roney , Anthony Cox, Dwayne Dolphin , Pheeroan akLaff , Tani Tabbal, 1992
- Twenty One with Ron Carter , Tony Williams , 1994
- Eyes… in the Back of Your Head with Ornette Coleman, Wallace Roney, Cyro Baptista , 1997
- Some Aspects of Water with Palle Danielsson , Lenny White , Johnny Coles , Henrik Bolberg Pedersen , Kjeild Ipsen , Alex Windfeld , Michael Hove , Uffe Markussen , 1997
- The Gathering with Wallace Roney, Robin Eubanks, Dwight Andrews , Vernon Reid , Ralphe Armstrong , Buster Williams , Lenny White , Mino Cinelu, 1998
- The Life of a Song with Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, 2004
- Timeless Portraits and Dreams , 2006 with Ron Carter , Jimmy Cobb , Carmen Lundy
- Flying Toward the Sound , 2010 solo
- Trio 3 + Geri Allen: Celebrating Mary Lou Williams (Live at Birdland New York) , with Oliver Lake , Reggie Workman , Andrew Cyrille , 2011
- Perfection , with David Murray , Terri Lyne Carrington , 2016
- The Art of Jazz and the Creative Process. In: International Jazz Archives Journal. 1, 3, 1995, pp. 89ff.
- Ian Carr , Digby Fairweather , Brian Priestley : Rough Guide Jazz. The ultimate guide to jazz. 1800 bands and artists from the beginning until today. 2nd, expanded and updated edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2004, ISBN 3-476-01892-X .
- Richard Cook , Brian Morton : The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD . 6th edition. Penguin, London 2002, ISBN 0-14-051521-6 .
- Geri Allen’s website
- Geri Allen at Allmusic (English)
- Geri Allen at Discogs (English)
- Ted Panken: For Geri Allen's Birthday, a Jazziz Feature Article from 2010 (2010)
- Obituary (National Public Radio)
- Giovanni Russonello: Geri Allen, pianist Who Reconciled Jazz's Far-Flung Styles, this at 60 in The New York Times
- On the death of Geri Allen (rbf)
- Jan Künemund On the death of Geri Allen: With stubbornness and groove , Der Spiegel , June 28, 2017
- Quoted from Cook & Morton, p. 27.
- Cook and Morton named The Gathering Allen's most satisfying work and awarded it the highest grade in the Penguin Guide to Jazz .
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Allen, Geri Antoinette|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||American jazz pianist|
|DATE OF BIRTH||June 12, 1957|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Detroit , Michigan , USA|
|DATE OF DEATH||June 27, 2017|
|Place of death||Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , USA|