GERI ALLEN

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos - — Paul Wei­de­man

Fly­ing To­ward the Sound (Motéma Mu­sic) Michi­gan na­tive Geri Allen has recorded nearly 20 al­bums since her 1984 trio de­but. Her new disc, sub­ti­tled “A Solo Pi­ano Ex­cur­sion In­spired by Ce­cil Tay­lor, McCoy Tyner and Her­bie Han­cock,” has nine orig­i­nal com­po­si­tions (as well as a video pro­gram). The first eight songs make up a suite she calls “Re­frac­tions: Fly­ing To­ward the Sound.” It be­gins peace­fully and is al­most bu­colic, but soon she plays a cou­ple of dense, dis­so­nant chords and then takes off, in­flu­enced by Tyner, in won­der­ful floods and ca­dences of notes. The sec­ond part, “Red Vel­vet in Win­ter,” in­spired by Han­cock, is lush but not quite soft, with pas­sion­ate soar­ings grounded by repet­i­tive, prayer like fig­ures. “Danc­ing Mys­tic Poets at Mid­night,” bounc­ing off her third muse, is elec­tric and wide-rang­ing, ac­tu­ally rem­i­nis­cent of Th­elo­nious Monk in its loose­ness and quirk­i­ness but with Tay­lor’s in­tel­lec­tual grav­ity. The cen­ter­piece is a 16-minute fan­ta­sia ti­tled “GOD’s An­cient Sky.” It be­gins with cau­tion­ary ad­ven­tures from the right hand over vi­brat­ing left-hand chords both dense and por­ten­tous. As the jour­ney — which surely pos­sesses spir­i­tual di­men­sions — pro­gresses, the flights be­come more dar­ing and then more song­like. The rest of the al­bum is like­wise dra­matic, com­plex, in­tense, and re­ward­ing.

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