Monday, July 24, 2017

Geri Allan - Daybreak and Dreams

The other atheist idiot who trolls me made some snarky comments about Geri Allen, assuming she led the same kind of drugged-up, dissipated life that is a stereotype of jazz musicians.  But, as you will know from my many other previous encounters with him, he doesn't think in reality or ideas, he thinks in Colorforms and in images and narratives cut out of pulp sources and pasted onto a poster board.  He's made a career, of sorts, of that kind of thing, it is typical of the pop cultural milieu he inhabits.

The truth is that she was a great scholar and dedicated artist and a genius who moved the art of jazz farther than most.  As the obituary in The Guardian puts it,

Fortunately for music-making, creators emerge in every generation who balance deep understanding of the evolution of their art with a fearless relish for changing the rules moment by moment in restless working lives – and by doing so, change the game for their successors. Geri Allen, the jazz pianist, composer and educator, who has died of cancer aged 60, was one of those.

And as it quotes the jazz commentator Ethan Iverson, he said:

There were other avatars from the late 80s and early 90s, perhaps most notably Marcus Roberts and Brad Mehldau. But it seems like most of the celebrated younger pianists of the current moment — a recent poll has names like Jason Moran, Vijay Iyer, Craig Taborn, David Virelles, Kris Davis, Matt Mitchell, Aru├ín Ortiz —  don’t play like Kirkland, Roberts, or Mehldau. They play like Allen.

It also notes that he said, shortly before her unexpected death:

And of course, there’s all the great music Geri Allen has played since 1989. It’s a large body of work that deserves as much attention as anyone else from these times. But for now, on the occasion of her 60th, I just wanted to make sure that the official record was correct. In this music, there was before Geri Allen and after Geri Allen. She’s that important.

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