Geri Allen

A Child Is Born

by Josh Langhoff

11 December 2011

 
cover art

Geri Allen

A Child Is Born

(Motéma)
US: 11 Oct 2011
UK: 28 Nov 2011

Geri Allen’s mostly-solo, mostly-jazz-piano album A Child Is Born flows through traditional Christmas songs and hymns with much facility, some invention, and a couple of surprises. Combining all three is “Angels We Have Heard On High”, that most contrapuntal of carols, which in Allen’s hands resembles a Bach three-part invention, albeit one with Keith Jarrett’s harmonic language. The ostinato-driven “We Three Kings” and “Little Drummer Boy” also feel exciting and open, both chordally and emotionally. They highlight an album over-reliant on hymn readings that play it straight, or even drone (“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”). Still, Allen’s brief, original transitional songs sparkle, as does her occasional use of organ and celeste. Pleasant enough when it pops up in a holiday playlist shuffle, this album raises money for Newark’s YWCA and Bethany Baptist Church.

A Child Is Born

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times.

//comments
//related
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Counterbalance: Elvis Costello's 'Imperial Bedroom'

// Sound Affects

"History repeats the old conceits, the glib replies, the same defeats. Keep your finger on important issues, and keep listening to the 275th most acclaimed album of all time. A 1982 masterpiece is this week's Counterbalance.

READ the article