Geri Allen Continues Davis’ Legacy

Internationally acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Geri Allen (MA 1982, ethnomusicology) has stepped in as Director of Pitt’s Jazz Seminar and Concert, now in its 43rd year. Allen is continuing the legacy of Professor of Music Emeritus Nathan Davis, the founder and former director of the Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert, who retired this summer. In January, Allen will join the faculty of the Department of Music as an associate professor and assume leadership of the Department’s program in Jazz Studies.

Allen was one of the first to graduate from Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in jazz studies. It was at Howard where she began to embrace music from all cultures and it has greatly influenced her work. She met Nathan Davis through one of her instructors who had studied under him. After graduation from Howard, while studying under Kenny Barron in New York City, Davis encouraged her to attend Pitt. She followed Davis’ advice and earned her master’s degree in ethnomusicology in 1982.

Since then, Allen has performed and collaborated with a long list of jazz greats, including Davis, the Ornette Coleman Quartet, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Betty Carter, Charles Lloyd, Marcus Belgrave, and many others. Currently, she is director of the Mary Lou Williams Collective. She also is touring with drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and bassist Esperanza Spalding in the ACS Trio.

Find out more about Geri Allen and the 43rd Annual Jazz Seminar and Concert.