413

Geri Allen: Flying Toward The Sound

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Geri Allen: Flying Toward The Sound One of modern jazz's foremost pianists, Geri Allen exhibits a musical profundity that is coupled by lyricism and soul. Whether leading a trio of esteemed peers—Charlie Haden and Paul Motian—at that landmark venue, Live at the Village Vanguard (DIW, 2000), or giving homage to the obscure jazz matriarch, pianist Mary Lou Williams, with Zodiac Suite: Revisited (Mary Music, 2006), Allen is a composer/musician constantly gravitating towards new endeavors.

Such is the case with Flying Toward the Sound (a solo piano suite in eight refractions ), a work that gained momentum after Allen received a 2008 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for Music Composition. Inspired by three great pianists—Herbie Hancock, Cecil Taylor and McCoy Tyner—the project offers reverence to the spirit of their music, yet eschews mimicry. It sets its own course in a journey that is enigmatic yet personal, complex yet moving, and always evolving with Allen's own vision as she so eloquently states: "It's not like playing transcriptions; it's more about refracting the admiration and love I have for them through my own muse."

The suite is replete with Allen's cerebral compositional and improvisational vigor. Each refraction is prismatic—moments of balladry, grandeur, and abstractionism are contained in the stunning opening title, dedicated to Tyner. Rapid notes forge cascading movements, sheets of sound, and fluid runs in "Red Velvet In Winter (for Hancock)" and flamboyant blues/swing improvisation in "Dancing Mystic Poets in Twylight (for Taylor)."

Motion and spirituality are prevalent in "God's Ancient Sky," the sixteen-minute centerpiece where the pianist's keys travel over assorted soundscapes. Personal reflections are found in "Faith Carriers of Life," dedicated to mothers, and "Your Pure Self (Mother To Son)," for her son Wally—each intimating the pianist's inventiveness and sensitivity suffused in her swinging groove essence.

An added gift is found on the enhanced CD, with three short video excerpts from the film Refractions , by filmmaker Carrie Mae Weems, who collaborated on the project. Jazz has been quoted as being "music that walks a tightrope without a net." Allen's Flying Toward the Sound effectively fits that description—daring, vulnerable, and breathtaking.


Track Listing: Flying Toward The Sound; Red Velvet In Winter; Dancing Mystic Poets At Midnight; GOD's Ancient Sky; Dancing Mystic Poets At Twylight; Faith Carriers Of Life; Dancing Mystic Poets At Dawn; Flying Toward The Sound (Reprise); Your Pure Self (Mother To Son).

Personnel: Geri Allen: piano.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Motema Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "The Catfish" CD/LP/Track Review The Catfish
by Chris Mosey
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Saturday Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Saturday Songs
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "Imagine Nation" CD/LP/Track Review Imagine Nation
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 9, 2016
Read "The Intergalactic Thing" CD/LP/Track Review The Intergalactic Thing
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "The Drive" CD/LP/Track Review The Drive
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "ReNew" CD/LP/Track Review ReNew
by James Nadal
Published: March 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!