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Geri Allen

27 juin 2017
12 juin 1957, Pontiac, MI - 27 juin 2017, Philadelphie, PA
© Jazz Hot n°680, été 2017
Geri Allen, at Barbican, London, 24 April 2004 © David Sinclair
Geri Allen, at Barbican, London, 24 April 2004 © David Sinclair

Native de Pontiac, dans le Michigan, la pianiste, compositrice et enseignante Geri Antoinette Allen vient de nous quitter prématurément, emportée par le cancer. Elle a grandi à Detroit, ville de la Motown mais aussi creuset du jazz, comme elle l’a racontée dans des interviews publiées dans Jazz Hot. Elle a mené une carrière exemplaire.
Comme de nombreux pianistes de jazz, elle a excellé autant par ses talents d’accompagnatrice que de compositrice et de pianiste émérite. Son exceptionnelle discographie en atteste, car elle a côtoyé un nombre incalculable de grands musiciens du jazz.
C'est au sein du M-Base de Steve Coleman, dont elle fut l’alter ego, que sa notoriété grandit. Son grand talent a été sollicité aussi bien par des musiciens inscrits dans la tradition que par des musiciens dits «d’avant-garde», de Betty Carter à Ornette Coleman en passant entre autres par Buddy Collette, Nathan Davis, Charles Lloyd, Wayne Shorter, Lester Bowie, Charlie Haden… sans oublier son compagnon de route et mari, Wallace Roney, dont elle avait divorcé.
Elle apparaît sur plus de 200 enregistrements de grande qualité, dont une trentaine parue sous son nom. Le relecture de ses interviews accordées à Jazz Hot (cf. ci-dessous) nous laisse le regret d'un itinéraire trop vite interrompu…


Née dans une famille «idéale», avec un père principal de collège et une mère travaillant pour le gouvernement américain, Geri Allen a été très tôt imprégnée d'art, de musique et de jazz (son père est pianiste). Elle grandit entourée de jazz live, et elle a accès aux nombreux disques de jazz de la famille. Elle étudie, avec le soutien familial, le piano avec un professeur particulier qu’elle retrouve au lycée, et croise très tôt la route de deux trompettistes, Donald Byrd et Marcus Belgrave, deux passeurs-pédagogues du jazz qui l’encouragent.
Elle est également marquée par la musique populaire et commerciale de sa jeunesse, qui fait fureur dans la ville de la Motown, et par les musiciens du label Tribe sur lequel enregistre son professeur et mentor, le trompettiste Marcus Belgrave. Elle n’ignore rien de la musique qui se joue à Detroit. Elle a d’ailleurs, rendu hommage dans son dernier album personnel, Grand River Crossings: Motown & Motor City Inspirations à cet héritage fondateur et formateur de sa passion pour la musique. Elle commence à jouer du piano à 7 ans et devient professionnelle sous la houlette de Marcus Belgrave qui la propulse dans le circuit des clubs, en même temps qu’elle approfondit son approche de certains maîtres, de Thelonious Monk à Herbie Hancock.
Après des études à l’Howard Université de Washington et un enseignement assidu auprès de Kenny Barron, elle obtient en 1979 un diplôme en ethnomusicologie à l’Université de Pittsburgh. Elle se produit en tournée et en club, et elle s’installe à New York au début des années 1980.
Sa carrière s’affirme auprès du groupe The Supreme, mais elle s’oriente vers des musiciens plus avant-gardistes tels Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, tous deux membres de l’Art Ensemble of Chicago, Oliver Lake, puis Steve Coleman (as) avec lequel elle participe dès 1984 au mouvement M-Base, avec Greg Osby (as), Cassandra Wilson (voc).
Son rôle est majeur bien que le saxophoniste apparaisse comme le chef de file de ce nouveau «jazz créatif».


Geri Allen, Festival Jazz à Vienne, 1988 © Pascal Kober
Geri Allen, Festival Jazz à Vienne, 1988 © Pascal Kober

Elle enregistre son premier album en leader, The Printmakers, en 1984, avec Anthony Cox (b) et Andrew Cyrille (dm). Si son parcours semble suivre un courant inspiré des novateurs Cecil Taylor à Mary Lou Williams et que ses compagnons de route d’alors sont identifiés comme d’avant-garde, elle reste très influencée et très respectueuse de ce qui caractérise le jazz, un pas dans l’aventure, un pas dans la tradition, son jeu reste très monkien.
En 1986, elle rejoint Charlie Haden et Paul Motian, compagnons de route d’Ornette Coleman, et elle enregistre notamment «Lonely Woman», thème fétiche du saxophone pour l’album Etude. Elle alterne alors des concerts à la tête de ses groupes, souvent des trios, et des productions discographiques nombreuses qui ne trouvent pas toujours un retentissement à la hauteur de leurs qualités. Avec des albums tels The Nurturer (1990), Maroons (1992), elle approfondit son intérêt pour des compositions intégrant l’ensemble des musiciens qui jouent régulièrement à ses côtés tels Marcus Belgrave ou  Kenny Garrett… L’album le plus salué par la critique est The Gathering (1998) paru il est vrai chez Verve, un label plus médiatisé, où on retrouve son trompettiste de mari, Wallace Roney, complété d’une fine équipe: Robin Eubanks (tb), Vernon Reid (g), Buster Williams (b), Lenny White (dm), Minu Cinelu (perc) et par le multi instrumentiste Dwight Andrew. Ses différents projets accueillent des jeunes musiciens et des talents confirmés.
On retrouve dans son monde, les jeunes lions Greg Osby, Gary Thomas, mais aussi les vétérans Bobby Hutcherson, James Newton, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Julius Hemphill ou encore Arthur Blythe et Lester Bowie.


Geri Allen at Barbican, London, 17 november 2013 © David Sinclair
Geri Allen at Barbican, London, 17 november 2013 © David Sinclair

En 2013, elle forme un beau trio de dames, avec Terry Line Carrington (dm) et Esperanza Spaulding (b), qui triomphe lors des tournées d’été, la mettant au premier plan des grandes scènes.
Dans ses collaborations, on retient entre autres sa participation aux albums et/ou groupes de Betty Carter, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Ornette Coleman (pour les albums Sound Museum), Charles Lloyd et Wallace Roney.
Elle participe en tant qu’instrumentiste mais aussi arrangeur, compositrice et productrice à plus de 200 albums. Elle aimait transmettre, comme son mentor Marcus Belgrave, et avait enseigné à l’Université du Michigan, mais aussi à New York et à l’Université de Pittsburgh.
Geri Allen, à l’instar de Mary Lou Williams, dont elle tint le rôle au cinéma dans le film Kansas City de Robert Altman, et à qui elle a rendu de nombreux hommages, en particulier dans l’album Zodiac Suite: Revisited (The Mary Lou Williams Collective), avait réussi à imposer comme sa devancière son grand talent de pianiste, instrumentiste et arrangeuse, dans un monde plutôt masculin.
Comme un retour aux sources, dans son récent album Grand River: Crossings, Motown and Motor City Inspirations, un court et magnifique «Space Odissey», un duo avec Marcus Belgrave, est un rappel émouvant d’un voyage en jazz commencé à Detroit, réunissant comme il se doit tradition et création, un voyage trop vite interrompu.

La disparition de Geri Allen a touché l'ensemble du monde du jazz, en particulier aux Etats-Unis où les hommages se sont multipliés. DL Media a relayé ces hommages et nous les retransmettons à notre tour après ce texte, et la qualité de ceux qui les ont rendus témoigne de la place qu'avait prise Geri Allen dans la communauté artistique du jazz aux Etats-Unis et dans le monde.

Le service funèbre devait se dérouler les vendredi et samedi 7 et 8 juillet 2017 à la Bethany Baptist Church de Newark, NJ.

Michel Antonelli
Photos David Sinclair et Pascal Kober



Geri Allen en couverture du Jazz Hot n°467, 1989Geri Allen en couverture du Jazz Hot n°589, 2002


GERI ALLEN et JAZZ HOT: n°467-1989, n°520-1995, n°589, 2002









Geri Allen, Grand River Crossings: Motown & Motor City Inspirations, MotémaDISCOGRAPHIE
Leader/coleader
CD 1984. The Printmakers, Minor Music 001
CD 1986. Home Grown, Minor Music 004
CD 1986. Open on All Sides in the Middle, Minor Music 1013
CD 1986. David Friedman/Geri Allen/Anthony Cox/Ronnie Burrage, Shades of Change, Enja 5017-2
CD 1988. Charlie Haden/Paul Motian feat. Geri Allen, Etudes, Soul Note 121 162-2
CD 1989. Geri Allen/Roy Brooks, Duet in Detroit, Enja 7067-2
CD 1989. Twylight, Verve 841 152-2
CD 1989. Geri Allen/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian, In the Year of the Dragon, JMT 834 428-2
CD 1989. Charlie Haden/Geri Allen/Paul Motian, The Montreal Tapes, Verve 537 483-2
CD 1989. Geri Allen/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian, Segments, DIW 833
CD 1990. Live at the Village Vanguard, DIW 847
CD 1991. The Nurterer, Blue Note 7 95139-2
CD 1992. Maroons, Blue Note 7 99493-2
CD 1994. Geri Allen/Ron Carter/Tony Williams, Twenty One, Blue Note 8 30028-2
CD 1996. Eyes… In the Black of Your Head, Blue Note 8 38297-2
CD 1996. Some Aspects of Water, Storyville 4212
CD 1997. Triad: Three Pianos for Jimi, Douglas Music 14
CD 1998. The Gathering, Verve 557 614-2
CD 2000-2003. The Mary Lou Williams Collective: Zodiac Suite: Revisited, Geri Allen/Buster Williams/Billy Hart/Andrew Cyrille, Mary Records 104
CD 2003. Lars Møller/Geri Allen/Buster Williams/Billy Hart Jazzpar Concerts 2003, Stunt Records 04032
CD 2004. The Life of a Song, Geri Allen/Dave Holland/Jack DeJohnette, Telarc 83598
CD 2006. Timeless Portraits and Dreams, Telarc 83645
CD 2008. Trio 3+Geri Allen, At This Time, Intakt 162
CD 2008. Flying Toward the Sound, Motéma 37
CD 2009. Geri Allen & Timeline, Live, Motéma 42
CD 2010. Trio 3+ Geri Allen, Celebrating Mary Lou Williams, Live at Birland New York, Intakt 187
CD 2011. A Child Is Born, Motéma 69
CD 2012. Grand River Crossings: Motown and Motor City Inspirations, Motéma 128
CD 2015. Murray, Allen & Carrington: Power Trio, Perfection, Motéma 234221

Sidewoman
LP  1978. Howard University Jazz Ensemble ’78, Mark Custom 5581
LP  1978. Howard University Jazz Ensemble ’79, Mark Custom 5684
LP  1979. Gregory Charles Royal, Dream Come True, GCR Music 0001
LP  1979. Betty Lou Landreth, Betty Lou, YaYa 1979-1
LP  1982-83. Oliver Lake and Jump Up, Plug It, Gramavision 8206-2
CD 1983. Pheroan Aklaff, Fits Like a Glove, Gramavision 8207-2
LP  1983. Joseph Jarman, Inheritance, Baybridge 189
CD 1984. Oliver Lake Quintet, Expandable Language, Black Saint 0079
LP  1984. Haki R. Madhubuti/Nation, Medasi/Thank You, Rise Records 770
CD 1984. Frank Lowe, Decision in Paradise, Soul Note 121 082-2
CD 1985. Steve Coleman Group, Motherland Pulse, JMT 852 001 (834 401-2)
CD 1986. Steve Coleman and Five Elements, On the Edge of Tomorrow, JMT 862 005 (834 401-2)
CD 1986. John Stubblefield, Bushman Song, Enja 5015-2
CD 1986. Oliver Lake, Gallery, Gramavision 8609-2
LP  1986. Arthur Blythe, Da-Da, Columbia 40237
CD 1986. Woody Shaw, Bemsha Swing, Blue Note 8 29029-2
CD 1986. Steve Coleman and Five Elements, World Expansion, JMT 872 010 (834 410-2)
CD 1986. James Newton, Romance and Revolution, Blue Note 7 46431-2
CD 1987. Oliver Lake, Impala, Gramavision 8710-2
CD 1987. Franco Ambrosetti, Movies, Enja 5035-2
LP  1987. Sonya Robinson, Sonya, Columbia 40251
CD 1988. Steve Coleman, Sine Die, Pangaea 461159-2
CD 1988. Wayne Shorter, Joy Ryder, CBS 460678-2,
CD 1988. Franco Ambrosetti, Movies Too, Enja 5079-2
CD 1988. Greg Osby, Mindgames, JMT 834 422
CD 1988. Oliver Lake, Otherside, Gramavision 18-8901-2
CD 1989. Paul Motian, Monk in Motian, JMT 834 421-2
CD 1988. Chico Freeman feat. Von Freeman, You’ll Know When You Get There, Black Saint 120128-2
CD 1988. Ralph Peterson Quintet, V, Blue Note 7 91730-2
CD 1988. Ralph Peterson Trio/Geri Allen, Triangular, Blue Note 7 92750-2
CD 1989. Gary Thomas & Seventh Quadrant, By Any Means Necessary, JMT 834 432-2
CD 1989. Buddy Collette Quintet feat. James Newton,Flute Talk, Soul Note 121165-2
CD 1989. Cecil Brooks III, The Collective, Muse 5377
CD 1989. Ralph Peterson Quintet, Volition, Blue Note 7 93894 2
CD 1990. Dewey Redman Quartet, Living on the Edge, Black Saint 120123-2
CD 1990. Betty Carter, Droppin’ Things, Verve 843 991-2
CD 1990. Jay Hoggard, Overview, Muse 5383
CD 1990. Fred Wesley, New Friends, Minor Music 1016
CD 1990. Lonnie Plaxico, Plaxico, Muse 5389
CD 1992. Marcus Belgrave/Lawrence Williams, Working Together, Detroit Jazz 101
CD 1993. Greg Osby, 3-D Lifestyles, Blue Note 7 98635-2
CD 1993. Me’Shell NdegéOcello, Plantation Lullabies, Maverick 45333-2
CD 1993. Dwayne Dolphin, Portrait of Adrian, Minor Music 1042
CD 1993. Wallace Roney, Crunchin’, Muse 5518
CD 1993. Wallace Roney, Munchin’, Muse 5533
CD 1993. Betty Carter, Feed the Fire, Verve 523 600-2
CD 1994. Wallace Roney, Misterios, Warner Bros. 9 45641-2
CD 1995. Cassandra Wilson, Songbook, JMT 124 097-2
CD 1995. Ernie Watts, Unity, JVC 2046-2
CD 1995. Reggie Workman, Cerebral Caverns,  Postcards 1010
CD 1995. Courtney Pine, Modern Day Jazz Stories, Antilles 529 028-2
CD 1995. Various Artists, Kansas City Soundtrack, Verve 529 554-2
CD 1996. Jay Hoggard, A Night in Greenwich Village, Muse 5556
CD 1996. Ornette Coleman, Sound Museum: Hidden Man, Verve/Harmolodic 531 914-2
CD 1996. Ornette Coleman, Sound Museum: Three Women, Verve/Harmolodic 531 657-2
CD 1996. Rodney Whitaker, Children of the Light, DIW 907
CD 1996. Lenny White, Renderers of Spirit, Hip Hop Essence 8014
CD 1996. Wallace Roney, Village, Warner Bros 9 46649-2
CD 1997. Mark Isham Feat. Charles Lloyd, Afterglow (Music From the Motion Picture), Columbia 67929
CD 1997. Oliver Lake Quintet, Talkin’ Stick, Passin’ Thru 41213
CD 1997. Mark Shim, Mind Over Matter, Blue Note 8 37628 2
CD 1998. Marian McPartland Performs Piano Duets With… Just Friends, Concord 4805-2
CD 1998. New York Connexion, Along Came Jones, Sirocco Jazz 1003
CD 1998. Andy Bey, Shades of Bey, Evidence 22215-2
CD 1998. Various Artists, Endless Miles: A Tribute to Miles Davis, N2K 10027
CD 1998. Bobby Hutcherson, Skyline, Verve 559 616-2
CD 1998. Buster Williams Quartet, Lost in a Memory, TCB 99252
CD 1999. Klaus Suonsaari, With Every Breath I Take, Storyville 4241
CD 1999. Wallace Rooney, No Job Too Big or Small, Savoy Jazz 17274
CD 1999. Clark Terry, One on One, Chesky 198
CD 2000. Wallace Rooney, No Room for Argument, Stretch Records 9033-2
CD 2000. Craig Handy, Reflections in Change, Sirocco Jazz 1005
CD 1999. Ravi Coltrane, From the Round Box, RCA Victor 7432173923-2
CD 1999. Sir Simon Rattle/City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Classic Ellington, EMD/Angel TOSP-65470
CD 2001. Buster Williams Trio, Houdini, Sirocco Jazz 1014
CD 2002. Charles Lloyd, Lift Every Voice, ECM 1832/33
CD 2002. The Detroit Experiment, The Detroit Experiment, Ropeadope 93138-2
CD 2004. Charles Lloyd, Jumping the Creek, ECM 1911
CD 2004. Wallace Rooney, Prototype, HighNote 7116
CD 2005. Wallace Rooney, Mystikal, HighNote 7145
CD 2005. Andy Bey, American Song, Minor Music 80-1117
CD 2005. Mary Stallings, Remember Love, Half Note 4521
CD 2007. Wallace Rooney, Jazz, HighNote 7174
CD 2007. Various Artists, Alpen Jazz Festival 2007 Feldafing, ACT/AJF 2007-2
CD 2007. Carmen Lundy, Come Home, Afrasia 13772
CD 2008. Marcus Belgrave With Detroit’s Jazz Piano Legacy
(Geri Allen, Tommy Flanagan, Gary Schunk): Live at Kerrytown Concert House, Detroit Jazz Musicians Co-Op none
CD 2009. Tineke Postma, The Traveller, Etcetera 6003
CD 2009. Count Basie Orchestra, Swinging, Singing, Playing, Mack Avenue 1048
CD 2011. Terri Lyne Carrington, The Mosaic Project, Concord 33016-02
CD 2011. The Legacy of Mary Lou Williams, United States Army Field Band Jazz Ambassadors, Geri Allen et Andy Bey,
Altissimo 75442262102
CD 2011. Jaimeo Brown Transcendence, Motéma 108
CD 2011. Elisabeth Kontomanou Feat. Geri Allen, Secret of Wind, Effendi 120
CD 2012. Franco Ambrosetti, Cycladic Moods, Enja 9576-2
CD 2012. Ravi Coltrane, Spirit Fiction, Blue Note 509999 18937 2
CD 2012. David Weiss, Endangered Species: The Music of Wayne Shorter, Motéma 120
CD 2013. Aga Zaryan, Remembering Nina & Abbey, Parlophone 50999 4 09881 2
CD 2014. Carmen Lundy, Soul to Soul, Afrasia Productions 13812
CD 2015. Terri Lyne Carrington, The Mosaic Project: Love and Soul, Concord 37779-02
CD 2017. Karriem Riggins, Headnod Suite, Stones Throw Records 2377

DVD
Charles Lloyd, Live in Montreal, Universal 0602498240113

VIDEOS
1989. Geri Allen and the Celebration Ensemble Suite For Eric Dolphy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OBC44YTBPQ&list=RD8OBC44YTBPQ#t=639


1991. Geri Allen, Charlie Haden (b) & Paul Motian (dm), Live in London
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWImjElyfHI&t=3473s

2012. «Unconditional Love» (double version) - 1/Geri Allen (p), Kenny Davis (b), Jeff Tain Watts (dm)
2/live Geri Allen (p), Tineke Postma (ss), Esperanza Spalding (b), Terri Lyne Carrington  (dm)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Otq9VTrQXk

2014. Our Lady featuring Geri Allen,Terri Lyne Carrington (dm) and Maurice Chestnut (Tap Dancer)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICvMBGQBQPY


2014. Geri Allen Trio avec Kenny Davis (b) & Kassa Overall (dm) 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkCHb5R43XI


*


Des réactions à la disparition de Geri Allen par DL Media

"Geri was and is a divine prism of pure heart and artistry. She conjured sonic rainbows, beaming new color spectrums out of plain black and white keys, and perpetually
revealed new aspects of that constant creative sun at the center of her mighty musical orbit. Geri tirelessly spread that wondrous multi-faceted light to audiences, band-mates and students around the world. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to bask and share in her glow. Far sooner than we ever imagined, she has moved on, to merge -- I'm sure in her own original way -- with the eternal source of all art and light. Though her departure has left a gaping absence in the music, and the hearts of everyone who knew her, Geri's life-sound will emanate forever... increasing and enlightening the musical expanse of our shared humanity.” Esperanza Spalding

"Geri, I have no words. You have rendered me speechless once again. Your wisdom and grace in life and death have touched me more than you'll ever know. You are a sage, a truly special spirit, now happily soaring freely. In reflection, I can't help but wishing I had been even more present, even more loving and even more patient while in your presence. You are an inspiring maverick and an exemplary creator that I'm proud to have been able to call my friend and bandmate. You've positively touched so many and my life and art will always reflect your vision and influence. I wish we had more time together to discover and explore, or chat and laugh, but I am the better for having already basked in your brilliance. Thank you for your AMAZING gifts. I am comforted in knowing that we all have an abiding journey and I am confident that we will re-encounter. I love you, Sis. Peace and eternal light, always...  Terri Lyne Carrington

"I first met Geri when she was a student at Howard. She would take the train up to my house in Brooklyn for lessons. Even then it was apparent that Geri heard some things musically that others did not. In 1994 we performed a duo piano concert at the Caramoor Festival in New York and I realized how fearless she was and at the same time how focused she was. It was a lesson that I took to heart. Geri is not only a great musician, composer and pianist, she is a giant and will be sorely missed. Kenny Barron

"It was a pleasure and an honor to know Ms. Geri Allen. A wonderful musician, educator, and beautiful spirit. I felt very grateful to work with her during the recent
performances that we had together. She will be greatly missed but her spirit and legacy will live on forever.
McCoy Tyner

"I remember the first time I heard a Geri Allen phrase. She was in the piano chair on a recording, and early into the first track there was an 8 bar piano solo before the melody returned. In a flash, she played the most amazing free wheeling 8 bars full of gesture and nuance. I had never heard anything like it before, and therefore Geri
became the pianist I would copy incessantly. There has not been a pianist like Geri Allen in the Pantheon of Jazz. She was the one that pulled together all of the histories, from Mary Lou Williams and Erroll Garner to Cecil Taylor and M-Base. She made the newest language on the piano. It was the sound that attracted so many of my peers. She could turn a corner with a phrase and make the car feel like it was balancing on two wheels. She could whip up energy while comping for someone that I'm sure made the soloist feel like they were levitating. And most of all, as a loving colleague, she nurtured so many of us. Gently urging us towards our destiny meanwhile being the best example we had for 'how to do it.' She is a God.
Jason Moran

"You moved me with your gentle yet precise touch on the piano, I could feel your sensitivity, your grace. Yes Geri, your grace. You ARE Grace itself. I'm with you Geri, sitting beside you, holding your hand. Can you feel it? And I know that you are wrapped in the grace of God and all His heavenly Angels. I know that LOVE surrounds you, and that you are filled with a wondrous PEACE through the presence of your children, your babies, your warrior sister Ora, and a multitude of family and friends. The world has been blessed because of you, I have been blessed because of you. Know that I love you deeply dearest Geri! Thank you for the opportunity to stand in your light, to see the world through your musical eyes. Thank you for connecting 'A Child is Born' with 'Silent Night.' Thank you Geri Allen. I love you. Dee Dee Bridgewater

"We are all in shock, as Geri and I had many conversations upon her return from Italy. I asked her was she tired, had she rested enough to write the preface to my Transcription Book, Marseille. Not a word from her about her illness. She spent some of her last strength writing the preface. This act of hers will remain with me forever.
May The Almighty Creator bestow on her the Ultimate Peace.
Ahmad Jamal

"Many will speak of her music, her fierceness on the piano, her work as an educator but I will always remember this; the last we met we talked of many things, we  laughed, enjoyed a meal together it was a beautiful day. When it was time for me to head home we hugged and said, "l love you." That is what I will keep with me. S. Epatha Merkerson

"Geri Allen was a wonderful human being...an elegant quiet, private, unassuming powerhouse. Her way was peaceful and patient; her spirit was committed to mentoring, teaching and exploring possibilities. Geri was authentic and her artistry impeccably refined and defined. May my friend who embraced tranquility throughout life rest in divine peace...she will be greatly missed. Dianne Reeves

"Geri was one of the great contributors to jazz, a jazz master. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to create music together with her. She touched a lot of people with her distinctive voice on piano and as a person. She will be missed but her legacy will continue. Love you Geri. Jack DeJohnette

"There has been a definable language for all styles of jazz. Geri Allen gained respect and influenced generations of musicians across all styles with a style that was never able to be defined as anything but singular. She funneled every nuance of jazz history in her playing and was able to always sound completely fresh. Christian McBride

"As Geri Allen's life continues to unfold, her eternal journey will be a constant act of indestructible creativity... We'll be with her all the way! Wayne Shorter

"Geri Allen's music will always remind us that we do not have to relinquish our cultural anchors in order to engage in courageous explorations. Her brilliance will inspire generations to come. Deepest condolences to Geri's father, brother, and children. ¡Geri Allen Presente! Angela Davis

"Geri Allen always gave me the greatest joy in performance. Her subtle, yet powerfully transformative energies stirred my soul. She had the extraordinary ability to dig deep and navigate the hidden harmonic undercurrents of the music while simultaneously delivering the sweet spots. Calling her gifts genius is an understatement.Cassandra Wilson

"Geri Allen was all music -- she transcended labels and gender. Her respect for the tradition and history of our music was immense. She was a poet on the keyboard and brought a purity of intent, focus and fierce determination to the music she played. Geri's palate and harmonic concept was very beautiful, elevated. Her playing was peerless on the two albums we made together; 'Lift Every Voice' and 'Jumping the Creek.' On stage, she played facing the drums and bass, and could look into their eyes to communicate. Since my back was to her, I once asked her how she and I communicated. She said, 'sonically.' It was my honor to have had that sacred, sonic  communication with her. Charles Lloyd

"Eternity is in Love with the creations of time,' said William Blake. Geri is one of eternities special creations. Throughout her life, she was able to deliver the all encompassing reach of eternities passion, power, grace and evolution with stunning poise. She is now delivered back to eternity and we are forever grateful for her gifts in our time. Sean Jones

"30 years ago, Charlie Haden introduced me to the music of Geri Allen. I still recall the mutual excitement and enthusiasm in the room as we listened to Geri's incredible piano solos. When I arrived in New York in '91, Geri was one of the first to embrace me, calling me for gigs, taking me under her wing, so to speak. There were others
who filled a similar role but none quite like Geri. She was kind and dignified, with a quiet strength that often reminded me of my mother Alice. I'll never forget the first times performing with her and feeling elevated by her accompaniment, like my feet were literally rising off the stage a little. I could play one or two notes and her musical response could evoke all the answers to the universe. And she did it all with such ease, grace and strength. I am forever grateful for the many years and many opportunities I had to know and work with Geri. She was a beautiful, warm, and soulful friend. Her music, her sound, her approach to the piano and improvisation was completely and totally her own. The love and enthusiasm and excitement I felt for Geri from day one will continue on throughout my entire life.
Ravi Coltrane

"The music of Geri Allen flows freely from her heart with an unmeasurable amount of love. I can remember Geri being at a sound check attending to her motherly duties while checking the sound of the piano. That's a lot of love. She is simply an amazing spiritual being. Her love will continue in all of our hearts forever! God Bless You!! Charnett Moffett

"Geri Allen was a great musician and great person. I'm honored to have known her about 30 years and honored to perform with her in various bands. Geri, you're truly missed. Kenny Davis

"Geri Allen existed in her absolute truth for her entire life. In leading by example, she continuously inspired her fellow creative spirits to work towards authenticity and
excellence. Her legacy as an artist and educator will surely live on in the classroom, on the stage, and beyond. I am eternally grateful for my lifelong friendship with Geri Allen and all of the time that we shared.
Robert Hurst

"Geri was a powerful innovator in modern music and a visionary pianist. She was also a scholar and historian of African American music, a community organizer, an institution builder, a feminist, a deeply committed and big-hearted educator, and a quietly determined leader. As a musician she was a conduit for spiritual truths
and healing energies. This is a tremendous loss for all of us, and we will strive to uphold & honor her legacy.
Vijay Iyer

"Geri Allen was one of the greatest most influential pianist of the 80's Renaissance and in all the history of our music. She influenced several subsequent generations of pianist, composers and forward thinkers of music. I was blessed to have her on several of my recordings and her playing on V and Triangular help set, maintain and raise the standard for the music that followed. She was a gentle, peaceful loving spirit, a dutiful mother and the world is a better place because of her. Long live the music and Legacy of Geri Allen: Jazz Warrior Queen  Ralph Peterson, Jr.

"Geri Allen and I have been friends and colleagues for 30 years. We met in the mid-80's when we were forming and developing the M-Base Collective with several other musicians in Brooklyn. Her voice was so very unique. She was a very sensitive person and that sensitivity came through her music in shimmering waves of brilliance. Robin Eubanks

"Ms. Allen was a deeply valued and much loved member of the Motéma family and the jazz community at large. Her singular creativity and astonishing pianistic
expression exemplified all that we hope to stand for: unfettered creativity, undeniable authenticity, deep intelligence, natural beauty, fearless individuality, creative freedom, rich complexity, powerful simplicity, dedication to justice and freedom for all, and, most of all, an unfailing commitment to share, through music, the grace
that connects us all.
Jana Herzen, Motéma Music

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