Over the last 20 years I’ve watched pianist Geri Allen grow as a fine musician and communicator of the past, present, and future of what jazz music represents. Her latest Motema Music release “Geri Allen and Timeline Live” features tap dance sensation Maurice Chestnut, veteran bassist Kenny Davis, and drummer Kassa Overall. The disc is her first live recording as a leader and was recorded in 2009 a series of performances at Reed College in Portland, Oregon and Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio. Geri clearly fuses traditional jazz with hip-hop oriented themes that both Maurice and Kassa bring to the music as well as stage presence.
Geri, a native of Detroit, is part of the great tradition of legendary pianists that the city as produced and contributed to the world of jazz. Icons such as the late Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan to Dr. Barry Harris. Geri’s unique piano style fuses both the traditional Avant-Garde musical styles.
Throughout her many years in the business, Geri has backed and played with artists such as Charles Lloyd, Betty Carter, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Lee Konitz, and Wayne Shorter.
In addition of being a well noted musician, she’s also the Associate Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan.
Geri and I sat down at the Motema Music Showcase live at The Iridium for the 2011 APAP Music Winter Conference.
To order her latest disc or to find out Geri’s upcoming tour dates, visit her on the web at geriallen.com
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