Spring Arts Guide 2013

Geri Allen March 27 at Atlas Performing Arts Center

Geri Allen is hard to pin down. The Howard University alumnus falls under the jazz pianist umbrella but can play anything from a ballad to a standard to her own luscious compositions—accompanied, solo, or in a big band. More than a pianist, Allen is a thoroughly versatile surrealist. Her not-quite-avant-garde approach strikes a difficult balance of blues and gospel roots—jazz’s meat and potatoes—with a supplement of eerie dissonances and luxurious, out-of-step rhythms. To be a well-rounded, traditionally anchored pianist who forges an individualistic style is the holy grail of the working jazz musician. The pianists who pull it off are among the best: Hines, Tatum, Basie, Monk, Hancock. If Geri Allen isn’t on that list, she should be. 8 p.m. $25–$35.

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