Charlotte Maltby as “Maria Rainer” and the von Trapp children, showing “Do-mi-sol” (photo by Matthew Murphy)
When opera subscribers complain to me about Washington National Opera, led down the Glimmerglass path, wasting some of its meager budget on producing a musical (Show Boat, Lost in the Stars, and the ill-advised trend continues next year with Candide), it is not pearl-clutching. Many opera
The news that Geri Allen has died from cancer at the age of just 60 is tragic for many reasons. She was in a creatively rich phase of her own impressive career, playing solo, and working closely with Teri Lynne Carrington on her Mosaic Project, which, although women-focused, was important to male and female jazz artists alike. Gender issues were prominent in Allen’s life nonetheless. When I met her in the late 1990s she made a point of telling me about the place of women such as Lil Hardin, wife of Louis Armstrong, and Mary Lou Williams in the history of modern music. She saw the necessity of recognising their work.
Born in Pontiac, Michigan, Allen was thoroughly immersed in Detroit’s bebop and soul traditions, and one of her first significant gigs as a sidewoman was with Motown legends Mary Wilson and the Supremes. But it soon became clear that Allen was intent on engaging with the entire spectrum of black music, in both art and pop incarnations, and that led her to reflect the influence of Cecil Taylor and Bud Powell as well as Stevie Wonder and Ornette Coleman in her own work. After graduating from Howard University and the University of Pittsburgh Allen settled in New York in the early 1980s, working with avant-garde legends Lester Bowie and Andrew Cyrille, who featured on her auspicious 1984 debut The Printmakers.
Allen became part of two landmark collectives, the Black Rock Coalition and M-BASE, and made a vital appearance on recordings by the latter’s founder Steve Coleman and Cassandra Wilson. Yet she really came into her own as a composer and improviser on the albums she cut in the 1990s, such as the politically charged Maroons, Eyes In The Back Of Your Head, featuring Ornette, and the superb The Gathering, a session that reunited her with BRC colleagues like Vernon Reid and struck a perfect balance between funky immediacy and probing introspection.
Allen married trumpeter Wallace Roney, combined her musical activities with motherhood, and also nurtured many young players. She had an all-encompassing approach to piano and keys that enabled her to move from the sweetest of melodicism to the most turbulent abstractions, and this ‘Open on all sides in the middle’ aesthetic was a notable prelude to the arrival of the likes of Robert Mitchell and Craig Taborn.
– Kevin Le Gendre
– Photo courtesy of Anthony Barboza
Iconic jazz keyboardist Herbie Hancock has just been confirmed for two nights at this year’s 25th edition of the EFG London Jazz Festival, appearing at the Barbican on 13 and 14 November. Touring the European jazz festival circuit this summer, which includes a headline performance at this coming weekend’s Love Supreme Jazz Festival on 1 July, Hancock has been premiering new material with a band featuring emergent sax/keys man Terrace Martin plus longstanding bandmembers such as guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist James Genus and drum heavyweight Vinnie Colaiuta. This will be Hancock’s first appearance in London since his spirited duo concerts with Chick Corea in 2015, and precedes the release of his much anticipated new studio album that is rumoured to feature contributions from Thundercat, Flying Lotus, Robert Glasper and Jacob Collier. Tickets for these London dates will be on-sale from 10am this Friday 30 June.
This show joins those already announced in Jazzwise (media partners of the festival), which include Pat Metheny Quartet (Barbican, 10 Nov); Jazz Voice (RFH, 10 Nov); Keith Tippett Octet with Matthew Bourne (Kings Place, 10 Nov), Michael Janisch Quartet with Rez Abbasi, Henry Spencer’s Juncture, Zhenya Strigalev Trio (Rich Mix, 10 Nov); Tomasz Stańko’s New York Quartet (Cadogan Hall, 10 Nov); Zakir Hussain’s Crosscurrents with Dave Holland and Chris Potter (Barbican, 11 Nov); Average White Band + LaSharVu (RFH, 11 Nov); Andy Sheppard Quartet (Kings Place, 11 Nov); Brad Mehldau/Chris Thile (Barbican, 12 Nov); Roland Perrin Trio with the Blue Planet Orchestra (Barbican, matinee performance, 12 Nov); Led Bib, Schnellertollermeier and WorldService Project (Rich Mix, 12 Nov); Marcus Miller (RFH, 12 Nov); Richard Pite’s 1957: A Jazz Jukebox (Cadogan Hall, 12 Nov); Knower (Scala, 13 Nov); Paolo Conte (RFH, 13 Nov); Abdullah Ibrahim/Hugh Masekela Jazz Epistles (RFH, 14 Nov) and Terrence Blanchard with the BBC Concert Orchestra (Barbican, 19 Nov), among many others.
– Mike Flynn
Full listings and tickets at http://ift.tt/1nWcZgL
Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley’s longtime guitarist died at his home in Nashville, aged 84. Moore had been in poor health in recent months. He formed the Starlite Wrangers with bassist Bill Black and in 1954, Sun Records impresario Sam Phillips paired Moore with a teenaged Elvis Presley. Together, along with Black, they recorded Presley’s first single, ‘That’s All Right (Mama).’ The recording session was only meant to be an audition; instead, the trio made music history.