Pianist and composer Geri Allen will release a solo, Detroit-themed piano recording,
Grand River Crossings: Motown and Motor City Inspirations, September 10 on Motéma Music. Her fourth project for the label (and last in a trilogy of solo piano albums released over the past three years), the album will feature special guests Marcus Belgrave and David McMurray
Allen will also present a program titled “Geri Allen & Friends Celebrate the Great Jazz Women of the Apollo” at Harlem’s Apollo Theater next Saturday, May 11. Under Allen’s musical direction, this concert pays homage to women singers and instrumentalists who have played the Apollo, including Nina Simone, Betty Carter, Nancy Wilson, Mary Lou Williams, Hazel Scott, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Melba Liston and others.
According to a press release: “Staged by celebrated actress-director-filmmaker S. Epatha Merkerson, through the words and historical narrative of acclaimed author Farah Jasmine Griffin, the program will feature performances by Allen’s Timeline Quartet (which showcases tap dancer Maurice Chestnut), GRAMMY® winners – vocalist Dianne Reeves and drum master, Terri Lyne Carrington, as well as saxophonist, Tia Fuller, premier vocalist Lizz Wright, DJ Val Jeanty, and Howard University’s award winning Afro-Blue Jazz Chorus (directed by Connaitre Miller), and other surprise guests round out the production’s list of performers. Also joining Allen for the performance is guitarist Marvin Sewell, tap dancer Alexandra Bradley, and comedian Karen Malina White.”
Performances will take place at 3:00PM & 8:00PM.
Allen will also tour as part of ACS, her trio with Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding, beginning in June. In the fall, she will return to her hometown for the Detroit Jazz Festival (September 1 and 2), where she’ll present a Homecoming Band and perform in a duo with Artistic Director Danilo Pérez. The pianist will also perform in New Jersey at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark (September 27 and 29), and the State Theatre in New Brunswick (September 28). In this program, the New Jersey resident will perform her own NJSO commission with conductor Jacques Lacombe and the Afro Blue Vocal Ensemble and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Lastly, Allen will lead a band featuring saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, bassist James Genus and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts for an engagement at the Village Vanguard from December 17-22.