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Geri Allen (June 12, 1957 – June 27, 2017) was an American jazz pianist and composer.[1][2]

Geri Allen
Allen in 2008
Background information
Born (1957-06-12)June 12, 1957
Pontiac, Michigan, U.S.
Origin Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died June 27, 2017(2017-06-27) (aged 60)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Genres Jazz, post-bop, blues music, funk, gospel
Occupation(s) Musician
Record producer
Instruments Piano
Years active 1982–2017
Labels Motema Music
Blue Note
Associated acts Timeline
Geri Allen with Trio 3.

Allen was an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of the Jazz Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh.


Early life and careerEdit

Allen was born in Pontiac, Michigan and educated in the Detroit Public Schools.[3]

Later life and careerEdit

In 2006, Allen was commissioned to compose "For the Healing of the Nations", a Sacred Jazz Suite for Voices, written in tribute to the victims, survivors and their families of the September 11 attacks. The suite was performed by Howard University's Afro-Blue Jazz Choir, under the direction of Connaitre Miller.

Allen had been a longtime resident of Montclair, New Jersey[4] before moving to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in 2012 after being offered the position of Director of the Jazz Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Allen died on June 27, 2017, two weeks after her 60th birthday, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after suffering from cancer.[5]


As leader/co-leaderEdit

Main sources:[6][7]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
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 Racy 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 With Jaribu Shahid (bass), Tani Tabbal (drums), Sadiq Bey (congas, percussion), Eli Fountain (percussion), Clarice Taylor Bell (vocals)
1989 In the Year of the Dragon JMT Most tracks 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 tracks duo, with Ornette Coleman (alto sax); some tracks duo with Wallace Roney (trumpet); one track duo, with Cyro Baptista (percussion); some tracks trio, with Roney (trumpet), 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 Most tracks 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 Some tracks solo piano; most tracks trio, with Ron Carter (bass), Jimmy Cobb (drums); 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 Most tracks 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 Most tracks solo piano; some tracks duo, with Marcus Belgrave (trumpet); one track duo with David McMurray (alto sax)
2015 Perfection Motéma Most tracks trio, with David Murray (tenor sax, bass clarinet), Terri Lyne Carrington (drums); one track sextet, with and Wallace Roney (trumpet), Craig Harris (trombone), Charnett Moffett (bass) added

As sidewomanEdit

Main source:[8]

With Cecil Brooks III

With Roy Brooks

With Betty Carter

With Ornette Coleman

With Steve Coleman

With Buddy Collette

With Charlie Haden

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

  • Dream Come True (GCR 1979 reissued Celeste Japan 2008)

With Woody Shaw

With John Stubblefield

  • Bushman Song (Enja, 1986)

With Gary Thomas

With Trio 3 (Oliver Lake, Reggie Workman & Andrew Cyrille)

  • At This Time (Intakt, 2009)
  • Celebrating Mary Lou Williams (Intakt, 2011)

With the Mary Lou Williams Collective

  • Zodiac Suite: Revisited (Mary, 2006)

With "Various"

  • Kansas City (A Robert Altman Film, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Verve, 1996)


Geri Allen portrays jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams and performs with the jazz band in the Robert Altman film Kansas City.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Lars Helgert ([s.d.]). Allen, Geri. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Accessed July 2017. (subscription required).
  2. ^ Mark Gilbert, Gary W. Kennedy ([s.d.]). Allen, Geri. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, second edition. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Accessed July 2017. (subscription required).
  3. ^ Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. p. 8. ISBN 0-141-00646-3. 
  4. ^ Staudter, Thomas. "Making Jazz and Family, Home and the Road Work Together", The New York Times, September 9, 2001. Accessed September 18, 2017. "Her luggage already packed for a late afternoon flight to San Francisco, Geri Allen, a jazz pianist, still had several precious hours remaining before her departure out of Newark, so she was filling the morning in the company of three children, ages 3 to 11. Ms. Allen's husband, Wallace Roney, a trumpeter, had returned home after midnight from an evening rehearsal at Carnegie Hall, and to respect his need to sleep, mother and children romped in the yard until growling stomachs sent them back inside to the breakfast table.... Ms. Allen and Mr. Roney have lived in their three-story frame house in Montclair, a short trip from Manhattan, since 1991." Geri Allen and Wallace Roney were divorced in 2008.
  5. ^ Adlet, David R. (27 June 2017). "Geri Allen, Brilliantly Expressive Pianist, Composer and Educator, Dies at 60". WGBO. Retrieved 27 June 2017. 
  6. ^ Jazzlists: Geri Allen: leader and co-leader discography, accessed November 22, 2017
  7. ^ Geri Allen discography, accessed November 22, 2017
  8. ^ Jazzlists: Geri Allen sidewoman: main albums and selected single artist collections, accessed November 22, 2017

External linksEdit