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Past Events

Harlem Speaks
Geri Allen
February 20, 2008

Pianist Geri Allen broke it down in sound, discussing her early life and career, from Detroit to New York to Pennsylvania and around the world. Her family, peers, influences and mentors, and junior high and high school memories were the topics of discussion of part one; after intermission, she delved into her recordings, her teachers, and her time at the Barry Harris Workshop, so significant in her development. Armed with a Masterís in Ethnomusicology, she explicated the specific elements and aspects of the African influence on and in jazz. She also gave a superlative explanation of the whys and wherefores of the profound value of learning standards in the jazz canon, and the American songbook, as foundations for exploring the inner world of composers and for oneís own compositional and improvisational forays. Then, to all our great surprise and appreciation, she played a several part invention that combined her original conception with repeated references to the melody of a Bud Powell bebop tune.


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