Geri Allen, Pianist Who Reconciled Jazz’s Far-Flung Styles, Dies at 60
Geri Allen, an influential pianist and educator whose dense but agile playing reconciled far-flung elements of the jazz tradition, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Philadelphia. She was 60.
Her publicist, Maureen McFadden, said the cause was cancer.
Perhaps more than any other pianist, Ms. Allen’s style — harmonically refracted and rhythmically complex, but also fluid — formed a bridge between jazz’s halcyon midcentury period and its diffuse present.
She accomplished this by holding some things constant: a farsighted approach to the piano, which she used both to guide and to goad her bandmates; an ability to toggle between artistic styles without warping her own sound; and a belief that jazz ought to interact with its kindred art forms across the African-American tradition.
Geri Allen (June 12, 1957 – June 27, 2017) was an American composer, educator, and jazz pianist, raised in Detroit, Michigan, and educated in the Detroit Public Schools.
Allen worked with many jazz musicians, including Ornette Coleman, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, and Charles Lloyd. She cited her primary influences to be her parents, Mount Vernell Allen Jr, and Barbara Jean Allen, and her primary musical influences to be mentors Marcus Belgrave, Donald Walden, and Betty Carter, as well as pianists Herbie Hancock, Mary Lou Williams, Hank Jones, Alice Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Thelonious Monk, McCoy Tyner, Bud Powell, and mentor Dr. Billy Taylor.
Allen was an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of the Jazz Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh. – Wikipedia