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Geri Allen & Timeline Live by Geri Allen

One of two recent releases on Motema by Geri Allen, Geri Allen & Timeline Live is not your usual live recording of a quartet date. Geri, a renowned contemporary pianist, is joined by bassist Kenny Davis and drummer Kassa Overall. Kenny Davis is a former Tonight Show Band bassist, and Kassa, who sports a giant Afro, joined Geri’s group shortly after graduating from Oberlin College.

While a rhythym section composed by high quality musicians is what one would expect to find in Geri’s band, the surprise here is the presence of tap artist Maurice Chestnut who adds an entirely new sonic direction to the music. Deborah Mitchell, Founder and Artistic Director of the New Jersey Tap Dance Ensemble, maintains that "During my 30 years as a professional tap artist...I have...rarely seen an emerging young tap artist with the extraordinary gifts of Maurice Chestnut."

Crowned "Top Dog Performer" at the Apollo Theater, Chestnut brings a unique sound to this recording; the interplay with drummer Overall is particularly intriguing. Allen’s percussive style adds to the mix.

The term tap only came into popular currency around 1902 while metal tap, tap dancing with metal plates on the feet, began in 1920. The entire history is far too complex to retell here, but it all began during the mid-1600s when Scottish and Irish indentured laborers brought their social dances to the New World. Slaves in the southern United States imitated the the Irish Jig’s rapid toe and heel movements along with the Lancashire Clog’d percussive proclivities and combined these with West African step dances known as "Juba" dances and "Ring Shouts."

This CD incorporates that heritage and many others. It also includes three low-resolution MPEG-4 video selections which afford you a way to see the group in action a definite plus!

Geri is a seasoned, innovative performer, and this is her third live CD; her performance throughout sparkles. Currently resident in Detroit, she is married to trumpeter Wallace Roney. She has played with a number of jazz luminaries including Dave Holland and Ornette Coleman.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Geri Allen
  • CD Title: Geri Allen & Timeline Live
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2010
  • Record Label: Motema
  • Rating: Four Stars
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