Geri Allen Day

June 12, 1957 – June 27, 2017


Pianist Geri Allen was born on June 12, 1957, in Pontiac, Michigan, and raised in Detroit.

One of the great pianists of her generation, she is one of a very small number of pianists who have ever recorded with Ornette Coleman.

In addition to over twenty albums of her own, she has appeared on recordings by Betty Carter, Steve Coleman, Charlie Haden, Oliver Lake, Dewey Redman, and many others.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies from Howard University in 1979, she moved to New York where she studied under pianist Kenny Barron and furthered her education at the University of Pittsburgh. There, she earned her master’s degree in ethnomusicology before returning to New York in 1982.

In 1984, Geri released her debut album “The Printmakers” featuring Anthony Cox and Andrew Cyrille and went on to work with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter, and later Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, and Ornette Coleman.

In 1995, Geri Allen’s LP “Twenty-One” earned her the Soul Train’s Lady of Soul Award for jazz album of the year.

She returned to the University of Pittsburgh in 2013, replacing her former mentor Nathan Davis as the Director of the Jazz Studies Program.

The “Geri Allen Trio” is seen here and featured on BET Jazz.


Geri Allen, piano
Billy Johnson, bass
Marc Johnson, drums