Geri Allen died today of cancer. She was 60. Ms. Allen was a pianist of uncommon technical achievement and fluency and inspired a generation of younger pianists. Recently a resident of Pittsburgh, Ms. Allen grew up in Detroit, where she began piano lessons at age seven. While at Cass Technical High School she studied with the trumpeter and Detroit jazz mentor Marcus Belgrave. One of her early trios included bassist Anthony Cox and drummer Andrew Cyrille. In the course of her career she collaborated with major musicians, among them Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Charlie Haden, Ornette Coleman, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Ornette Coleman and Terri Lyne Carrington.
For a comprehensive obituary of Geri Allen, see David Adler’s remembrance posted by the New Jersey jazz station WGBO. The piece contains two videos of Ms. Allen in performance, one with an extensive interview.
Geri Allen, RIP