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Jazz - Released August 24, 2004 | Telarc

Life of a Song is Geri Allen's first recording under her own name in six long years. She teams with the rhythm section of bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette, whom she worked with on the late Betty Carter's stellar live date Feed the Fire in 1993. Allen composed eight of the album's 11 cuts, and the covers include Bud Powell's "Dance of the Infidels," Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life," and Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes." This last selection is augmented by the participation of Marcus Belgrave on flugelhorn, saxophonist Dwight Andrews, and trombonist Clifton Anderson. The album's title reflects the depth of commitment to the song forms inherent in jazz. Allen is in fine form here, and one can hear her various instrumental and vocal influences. The album swings, but looks underneath swing for its subtleties and its edges, too. The set opens with a playful, pianistic dissonance on "LWB's House (The Remix)" -- and lest punters be alarmed, the tune is not "remixed" at all, but is actually an earlier composition reworked. The bluesy funk here is augmented with Afro-Cuban rhythms and a series of tonal shifts where Allen is trying to emulate the African stringed instrument, the kora. Swing is inherent in every chorus, and Holland and DeJohnette keep the pace relaxed yet deeply focused. The interplay between Holland and Allen on "Mounts and Mountains" -- particularly during the bassist's solo passage -- are remarkable as she responds with a contrapuntal solo that draws on both Herbie Hancock and Ahmad Jamal. Elsewhere, on the Powell tune her facility to usher it in a relaxed, easy way, and then dazzle with her two-handed counterpoint in the solo showcase Allen's quick wit and dazzling chromatic command. The title cut, with its obvious Hancock homage in the head and swinging head, is one of the album's many high points. This is a trio date that has all the elements: an indefatigable lyricism and honesty of emotion, as well as beautiful colors and deft, even uncanny engagements among the three principals. What a welcome return for Allen, who expertly displays she's been refining her chops and listening deeply to her Muse these past six years. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 22, 2006 | Telarc

Geri Allen's musical interests prove to be quite diverse in Timeless Portraits and Dreams, delving into jazz, spirituals, sacred works and originals, accompanied by two of the most in-demand veterans, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Jimmy Cobb, throughout most of the release. Allen''s stunning solo opener "Oh Freedom" segues directly into another fine work, "Melchezedek," which showcases both Allen and Carter in the solo spotlight, with wordless vocals by the Atlanta Jazz Chorus adding background color. Singer Carmen Lundy and the chorus are on hand for the spirit-filled "Well Done" and Allen's gorgeous ballad "Timeless Portraits and Dreams." Other vocal tracks include two features for tenor George Shirley, including "I Have a Dream" (from Mary Lou's Mass composed by Mary Lou Williams after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) and a vigorous treatment of the piece considered as the Black National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing." Trumpeter Wallace Roney (Allen's husband) smolders in Allen's tasty post-bop vehicle "In Real Time" and makes a belated entrance in the tense, strident tribute "Our Lady (For Billie Holiday)." Allen throws the listener a curve with her well-disguised introduction to the trio arrangement of Charlie Parker's "Ah-Leu-Cha" and uncovers a neglected gem in Lil Hardin Armstrong's ballad "Just for a Thrill." While some jazz fans may prefer to hear Geri Allen in a strictly instrumental setting, they will miss out if they fail to investigate these stimulating sessions. Highly recommended. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 9, 2013 | Motema

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Jazz - Released February 14, 2020 | Storyville Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Verve Reissues

By the late '90s, Geri Allen's modern jazz piano style was easily recognizable to those who paid attention to the development of this music. Where far too many other peers chose to rehash standards ad infinitum, Allen explored her individuality in many ways that expanded her color palate and harmonic range. The Gathering features some trio recordings with bassist Buster Williams and drummer Lenny White, while adding guitarist Vernon Reid from Living Color here and there. But the most telling collaborator is producer Teo Macero, who not only is a master orchestrator in his own right, but inspired Allen to present music on this recording with a larger ensemble -- right up Macero's alley. As diverse a jazz project as one might hear, its equally as rich, deep, and wide, as the pianist sticks to acoustic piano, allowing these swelling sounds to swirl around her. The title track is truly a tour de force track, pounding into submission the road song rhythm via an insistent, driving, clockwork beat, while the underscored brass of trumpeter Wallace Roney and trombonist Robin Eubanks fly on wings of "angels" overhead. The group expands with flutist Dwight Andrews and bassist Ralphe Armstrong on "Gabriel's Royal Blue Reals," but the larger horn section pares down into two-note refrains, beautiful but not dainty. "Angels" has a similar instrumentation, but is even more withdrawn into a childlike stance, signing in softer clarion tones. The tracks with Reid have him on acoustic guitar for "Ray" with Allen and percussionist Mino Cinelu only in a suspended animation mood, or the electric during the static hard bopper "Dark Prince" or "Joy & Wonder" again with Armstrong in a similar forward motion to "The Gathering" but with a smaller combo. Allen, Williams, and White were a regular working trio at this time, and they are showcased for the levitating "Soul Heir" in a 7/8 and 4/4 tango, the abeyance of time "Light Matter," and the oceanic, rising sun motif of "Daybreak & Dreams." As complete and realized as many of Allen's recordings are, this one displays all of her immense powers coming to light at the same time. It's immaculately programmed, perfectly executed music that has a haunting quality overall, but enough punch, innovation, and style to rank it highly among her best projects, and comes highly recommended. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 11, 2011 | Motema

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Jazz - Released August 6, 2010 | Motema

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Contemporary Jazz - Released March 20, 1997 | Storyville

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Jazz - Released September 25, 2000 | MINOR MUSIC

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Jazz - Released October 13, 2009 | Douglas Music