Funeral Arrangements for Geri Allen: Pianist, Composer, Educator, and Innovator

Comment Off 92 Views
Funeral Arrangements for Geri Allen:
Pianist, Composer, Educator, and Innovator
Viewing: Friday, July 7
Bethany Baptist Church
6:00PM – 8:00PM

Service: Saturday, July 8
Bethany Baptist Church
11:00AM – 12:30PM

Bethany Baptist Church
275 W. Market St.
Newark, NJ 07103
(ph) 973-623-8161
See Below for Tributes from Colleagues and Media
Photo Credit: Rob Davidson
Media Appreciations for Geri Allen
Fellow Artists Pay Respect
“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
For more information on Geri Allen, visit or Facebook
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Editor of Media website.
Free Newsletter Updated Daily