|Born||June 12, 1957|
Pontiac, Michigan, U.S.
|Died||June 27, 2017 (aged 60)|
|Alma mater||Howard University |
University of Pittsburgh
|Genres||Jazz, blues, funk, gospel|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, educator, composer|
|Labels||Motema Music, Polygram, Storyville, Blue Note, Telarc|
Geri Antoinette Allen (June 12, 1957 – June 27, 2017) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and educator. In addition to her career as a performer and bandleader, Allen was also an associate professor of music at the University of Pittsburgh and the director of the university's Jazz Studies program.
Allen was born in Pontiac, Michigan, on June 12, 1957, and grew up in Detroit. "Her father, Mount Allen Jr, was a school principal, her mother, Barbara, a government administrator in the defence industry." Allen was educated in Detroit Public Schools. She started playing the piano at the age of seven, and settled on becoming a jazz pianist in her early teens.
Allen graduated from Howard University's jazz studies program in 1979. She then continued her studies: with pianist Kenny Barron in New York; and at the University of Pittsburgh, where she completed a master's degree in ethnomusicology in 1982. After this, she returned to New York.
Allen became involved in the M-Base collective in New York. Her recording debut as a leader was in 1984, resulting in The Printmakers. This trio album, with bassist Anthony Cox and drummer Andrew Cyrille, also featured some of Allen's compositions.
Allen married trumpeter Wallace Roney in 1995. They had a daughter and a son; the marriage ended in divorce. Allen was awarded the Jazzpar Prize in 1996. In the same year, she recorded two albums with Ornette Coleman: Sound Museum: Hidden Man and Sound Museum: Three Women.
In 2006, Allen composed "For the Healing of the Nations", a suite written in tribute to the victims and survivors of the September 11 attacks. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008.
Allen was a longtime resident of Montclair, New Jersey. She became director of the jazz studies program at the University of Pittsburgh in 2013.
Allen died on June 27, 2017, two weeks after her 60th birthday, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after suffering from cancer.
|1984||The Printmakers||Minor Music||Trio, with Anthony Cox (bass), Andrew Cyrille (drums, percussion)|
|1985||Home Grown||Minor Music||Solo piano|
|1986||Open on All Sides in the Middle||Minor Music||With Rayse Biggs (trumpet, flugelhorn), Robin Eubanks (trombone), David McMurray (soprano sax, flute), Steve Coleman (alto sax), Jaribu Shahid (bass), Tani Tabbal (drums), Shahita Nurallah (vocals); plus guests Mino Cinelu (drums, percussion), Lloyd Storey (tap dance), Marcus Belgrave (flugelhorn)|
|1989||Twylight||Minor Music||Trio, with Jaribu Shahid (bass), Tani Tabbal (drums), plus Sadiq Bey (congas, percussion), Eli Fountain (percussion) as guests, and Clarice Taylor Bell (vocals) on one track|
|1989||In the Year of the Dragon||JMT||Trio, with Charlie Haden (bass), Paul Motian (drums); one track quartet, with Juan Lazaro Mendolas (flute) added|
|1989||Segments||DIW||Trio, with Charlie Haden (bass), Paul Motian (drums)|
|1990||The Nurturer||Blue Note||Sextet, with Marcus Belgrave (trumpet, flugelhorn), Kenny Garrett (alto sax), Robert Hurst (bass), Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums), Eli Fountain (percussion)|
|1990||Live at the Village Vanguard||DIW||Trio, with Charlie Haden (bass), Paul Motian (drums); in concert|
|1992||Maroons||Blue Note||With Marcus Belgrave and Wallace Roney (trumpet), Anthony Cox and Dwayne Dolphin (bass), Pheeroan akLaff and Tani Tabbal (drums) in various combinations|
|1994||Twenty One||Blue Note||Trio, with Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums)|
|1995–96||Eyes in the Back of Your Head||Blue Note||Some tracks solo piano/synthesizer; some duos with Ornette Coleman (alto sax), Wallace Roney (trumpet) and Cyro Baptista (percussion); some trio tracks, with Roney (trumpet) and Baptista (percussion)|
|1996||Some Aspects of Water||Storyville||With Henrik Bolberg Pedersen (trumpet, flugelhorn), Johnny Coles (flugelhorn), Kjeld Ipsen (trombone), Axel Windfeld (tuba), Michael Hove (alto sax, flute, clarinet), Uffe Markussen (tenor sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet), Palle Danielsson (bass), Lenny White (drums)|
|1998||The Gathering||Verve||With Wallace Roney (trumpet, flugelhorn), Robin Eubanks (trombone), Dwight Andrews (piccolo, alto flute, bass flute, bass clarinet), Vernon Reid (guitar), Ralphe Armstrong (7-stringbass), Buster Williams (bass), Lenny White (drums), Mino Cinelu (percussion) in various combinations|
|2004||The Life of a Song||Telarc||Trio, with Dave Holland (bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums); one track sextet, with Marcus Belgrave (flugelhorn), Dwight Andrews (sax), Clifton Anderson (trombone) added|
|2006||Timeless Portraits and Dreams||Telarc||Trio, with Ron Carter (bass), Jimmy Cobb (drums); some tracks solo piano; some tracks with Wallace Roney (trumpet), Donald Walden (tenor sax), Carmen Lundy, George Shirley and The Atlanta Jazz Chorus (vocals) added in various combinations|
|2008||Flying Toward the Sound||Motéma||Solo piano|
|2010||Geri Allen & Timeline Live||Motéma||Quartet, with Kenny Davis (bass), Kassa Overall (drums), Maurice Chestnut (tap dance)|
|2011||A Child Is Born||Motéma||Solo keyboards; some tracks with Carolyn Brewer, Connaitre Miller, Barbara Roney and Farah Jasmine Griffin (vocals) added in various combinations|
|2012||Grand River Crossings||Motéma||Solo piano; some tracks duo, with Marcus Belgrave (trumpet); one track duo with David McMurray (alto sax)|
|2015||Perfection||Motéma||Trio, with David Murray (tenor sax, bass clarinet), Terri Lyne Carrington (drums); one track sextet, with Wallace Roney (trumpet), Craig Harris (trombone), Charnett Moffett (bass) added|
With Franco Ambrosetti
With Cecil Brooks III
With Roy Brooks
With Betty Carter
With Ornette Coleman
With Steve Coleman
With Buddy Collette
With Charlie Haden
With Craig Handy
With Oliver Lake
With Charles Lloyd
With Frank Lowe
With Paul Motian
With Greg Osby
With Dewey Redman
With Wallace Roney
With Gregory Charles Royal
With Woody Shaw
With John Stubblefield
With Gary Thomas
With Trio 3 (Oliver Lake, Reggie Workman & Andrew Cyrille)
With Ernie Watts
With the Mary Lou Williams Collective
With Reggie Workman
Geri Allen portrays jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams and performs with the jazz band in the Robert Altman film Kansas City.