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Geri Allen Teams With Holland, DeJohnette

Pianist and composer Geri Allen (pictured) will release The Life of a Song, her first new release in six years, on August 24. The album, which is Allen’s debut on the Telarc label, also features bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette.

The Life of a Song was produced by Allen along with Elaine Martone at New York City’s Avatar Studios and features eight new compositions that explore the themes of family, motherhood and spirituality. The release also features three standards: Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life,” Bud Powell’s “Dance of the Infidels” and Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes.”

“A dear friend once told me that ‘the life of a song’ is a music industry phrase,” Allen explained in a press release. “But that’s not what I meant [by the album’s title]. In my mind, we play this music over and over again, and it does live.”

Allen’s last album, The Gathering, which she recorded with her husband, trumpeter Wallace Roney, was released on Verve in 1998.

Allen, a native of Detroit, studied music since she began taking piano lessons at age seven. After graduating from Howard University with a degree in jazz studies, Allen went on to earn a master’s degree in ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh. Allen has collected an impressive resume of musical collaborations, including a stint as an Assistant Professor of Music at Howard and a role co-scoring the HBO documentary Beah Richards, A Black Woman Speaks. In 1996, Allen became the first woman to win the coveted Danish Jazzpar prize. Allen has worked with numerous musicians, including Charles Lloyd, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, Mary Wilson and the Supremes, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian and Betty Carter.

A track list for The Life of a Song follows. More information on the album can be found at

Track list:

LBWs House

Mounts and Mountains

Lush Life

In Appreciation

The Experimental Movement

Holdin’ Court

Dance of the Infidels

Unconditional Love

The Life of a Song

Black Bottom

Soul Eyes

Originally Published