Home / Arts & Life / Geri Allen, Pianist Who Reconciled Jazz’s Far-Flung Styles, Dies at 60

Geri Allen, Pianist Who Reconciled Jazz’s Far-Flung Styles, Dies at 60


Geri Allen in 2012. She gained prominence in the 1980s.

Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Geri Allen, an influential pianist and educator whose dense but agile playing reconciled far-flung elements of the jazz tradition, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Philadelphia. She was 60.

The cause was cancer, said Maureen McFadden, Ms. Allen’s publicist.

Perhaps more than any other pianist, Ms. Allen’s style — harmonically refracted and rhythmically complex, but laden with inertia — formed a bridge between jazz’s halcyon midcentury period and its stylistically diffuse present.

She accomplished this by holding some things constant: a farsighted approach to the piano, which she used to both guide and goad her bandmates; an ability to fit into a range of scenarios without warping her own sound; and a belief that jazz ought to maintain contact with its kindred art forms across the African-American tradition.


Geri Allen at the Village Vanguard in Manhattan in 2012.

Joshua Bright for The New York Times

Reviewing a performance by Ms. Allen’s trio in 2011, Nate Chinen wrote in The New York Times: “Her brand of pianism, assertive and soulful, has long suggested a golden mean of major postwar styles. She just as easily deploys the slipstream whimsy of Herbie Hancock, the earthy sweep of McCoy Tyner and the swarming agitation of Cecil Taylor.”

Continue reading the main story

About admin

Check Also

Hear the Best Albums and Songs of 2023

Dear listeners, In the spirit of holiday excess and end-of-the-year summation, we’re about to make …