Geri Allen

Geri Allen

Geri Allen is a native of Detroit, MI. She began piano lessons at age seven. She attended the famous magnet music school, Cass Technical High School, received a degree in jazz studies from Howard University and a master’s in ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh. She has amassed a stunning resume of musical collaborations. Since 1982, Ms. Allen has worked with musicians as diverse as Charles Lloyd, Mal Waldron, Vernon Reid, Mino Cinelu, Mary Wilson and the Supremes, Oliver Lake, Betty Carter, M-Base, Ornette Coleman, and Charlie Haden, among many others. She recorded several albums for Blue Note Records including the critically acclaimed, Maroons, which featured her trio comprised of Ron Carter and Tony Williams. Among her more recent recordings is The Life of a Song on the Telarc label which features eight imaginative new compositions propelled by veterans Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette. She is internationally recognized as an authority on the music of Mary Lou Williams. She has held faculty positions at several institutions including Howard University and the University of Michigan. She was the first recipient of Soul Train’s Lady of Soul Award for Jazz Album of the Year. Among her other awards are the 1996 Danish Jazzpar Prize, the Howard University Distinguished Alumni Award, the SESAC Special Achievement Award, the Eubie Blake Award from the Cultural Crossroads Center in New York, and several downbeat Magazine Critics Polls Awards. She has earned membership in the remarkable pantheon of Detroit jazz pianists. Hailed as “a jazz pianist who dares to follow an unmarked road” (The New York Times) and honored for her “extensive music education and a devotion to swing roots of jazz” (Los Angeles Times), pianist/composer Geri Allen is a true original. Rhythmically subtle yet startlingly provocative, she respects the jazz tradition, but refuses to be bound by it, and her original works journey into consistently adventurous areas, always seeking out new musical avenues.