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Geri Allen: A Life in Song... and Jazz

Geri Allen, shown in a detail from her new CD, 'The Life of a Song.'
Geri Allen, shown in a detail from her new CD, 'The Life of a Song.'

Pianist and composer Geri Allen knew she wanted to be a jazz musician after spending most of her childhood listening to her father's jazz records.

It worked out, and now she plays some of the best spots in New York, Los Angeles and across Europe. But none of it came easily or quickly.

She got her first big step up in the music world when she was accepted to an arts magnet school in her hometown of Detroit. Then came a degree in jazz studies from Howard University; a masters in ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh; and finally invitations to perform in the United States and overseas.

Allen tells NPR's Liane Hansen about working with bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette on her latest CD, The Life of a Song.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.