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Flash! Jazz Pianist Geri Allen Does Interview with Rank Amateur!

On June 8th, the first evening of the Rochester International Jazz Festival, I conducted my first "jazz interview" with pianist Geri Allen. It was a wonderful experience.

Ms. Allen invited us into the "green room" at Kilbourn Hall in the Eastman School of Music, where she had performed a killer early set in Kilbourn kicking off the 6th Annual RIJF.  While I've edited out an interruption toward the end, and made a few other adjustments to try to make it easier to hear me or Ms. Allen, it is pretty much as we recorded it.  I left it as is as I think it is a true document of the experience.  Clearly, my interview style could use some work but I think that Ms. Allen more than made up for that with her thoughtful responses. This is an artist that knows herself and where she is going.

In addition to Ms. Allen's voice and mine, the other voice you'll hear on the podcast is my wife Dianna.  She promised me going in that she'd just take notes . . . but anyone who knows Dianna knows that when she hears something that moves her, it is impossible for her to contain herself. I think you'll agree that her participation was invaluable in making the interview a unique document. 

Pardon the sound quality, but my "professional" equipment was a Griffin iTalk microphone plugged into my iPod Nano. The delay in posting this interview is my bad timing . . . it took me a week after the end of the festival to have the time to do the editing (and learn the Audacity software I used to do the editing). By that time, Ms. Allen was near to leaving for a European tour and I had promised I'd send her a copy to hear before publishing it on the blog. We finally connected over the weekend and she wrote it was "good to go".  So, here it is ... a bit over 11 minutes:

Jazz@Rochester Interview with Geri Allen

I note one thing . . . Geri Allen indicated all she needs to come back to play in Rochester is an invitation.  Someone going to step up?

This post was originally published on JazzRochester. © Gregory V. Bell. All rights reserved.

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