Friday, July 14, 2017

Pianist will be remembered at Newport

Suffice it to say, Geri Allen will be there in spirit.

The pianist had been scheduled to perform at this year's Newport Jazz Festival on Saturday, August 5 in the all-star, all-woman trio that has featured her with bassist Esparanza Spalding and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington.
Geri Allen at Newport, August 2004

That changed late last month when Allen succumbed to cancer.

Under the new plan, Allen will be honored with a one-set performance being called Flying Towards the Sound: For Geri, With Love. Carrington and Spalding will share the stage at Fort Adams State Park with three pianists who were proteges, collaborators and/or friends of Allen: Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran and Christian Sands. 

"Geri was a beautiful person whose impact on the music she loved will last forever. She was a unique artist, dedicated to the rights of men and women. She cannot be replaced. I'm glad to have known her for so many years," said George Wein, Newport Jazz Festival founder in a news release from Newport Festivals Foundation.

Festival producer Danny Melnick said the musicians "will honor and celebrate Geri's life and music in a poignant and personal way." 

It should be quite emotional for the performers and the audience.  

Natixis Global Asset Management is the Presenting Sponsor of this year's festival, scheduled August 4-6 at Fort Adans and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino. 

Other artists in the extensive lineup include The Roots, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, Snarky Puppy,  the One For All collective, Joey DeFrancesco, saxophonists Benny Golson, Branford Marsalis and Maceo Parker, the Christian McBride Big Band with special guests, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, and the supergroup Hudson with Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski & John Scofield. Also, Trombone Shorty, clarinetist Evan Christopher, trumpeters Dominic Farinacci, Sean Jones and Wadada Leo Smith, and singers Cyrille Aimee, Andra Day, Rhiannon Giddens, Leslie Odom Jr. and Cécile McLorin Salvant.

For the complete lineup and more information, visit www.newportjazz.org.

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