Timeline Live (Motéma)

Geri Allen

Released June 8, 2010

The Guardian 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2011






The sophisticated and streetwise live debut by multi-award-winning jazz pianist Geri Allen’s popular quartet featuring Kenny Davis (bass), Kassa Overall (drums) and tap percussionist extraordinaire Maurice Chestnut. This incendiary group gains standing ovations internationally with their unique act that speaks the language of tap, drumming and the street within the totally embracing context of Ms. Allen’s deep in-the-pocket, groove oriented jazz.

Track Listing:

1. Philly Joe (Geri Allen) 15:52

2. Four by Five (McCoy Tyner) 04:47

3. The Western Wall/Soul Eyes (Geri Allen / Mal Waldron) 17:12

4. LWB’s House (Geri Allen) 03:36

5. Embraceable You/Loverman (David James Edward / George Gershwin / Billie Holiday / Sherman James / Roger Ramirez) 12:35

6. Ah Leu Cha (Charlie Parker) 09:53

7. In Appreciation (Geri Allen) 06:40


Geri Allen: piano

Kenny Davis: bass

Kassa Overall: drums

Maurice Chestnut: tap percussion

Recorded February 7, 2009, at Detroit Jazz Festival; Oberlin Conservatory Of Music, Oberlin, OH; Reed College, Portland, OR

Producer: Geri Allen and Ora Harris

Engineer: Paul Eachus and Barry Stewart

Mastering: Jeremy Edwards

Art Direction: Karl Giant

Executive Producer: Jana Herzen


This is the album for jazz fans to play at full volume to anybody who says the music can’t be danced to any more. Timeline is inspired American pianist Geri Allen’s unique two-year-old quartet – unique in that it combines the virtues of the traditional acoustic trio with the explosive percussion input of young New Jersey tapdancing phenomenon Morris Chestnut. Even without the bonus videos on this disc (also viewable at youtube.com/motemamusic) the audience reaction makes the thrill level pretty apparent, and Allen’s shrewd choice of material and McCoy Tyner/Herbie Hancock-inspired momentum are the ideal foils for a rhythm celebration, a showcase for Chestnut and drummer Kassa Overall. For all its infectious danceability, though, this music constantly references the jazz tradition – from the tribute to the late drummer Philly Joe Jones in the torrential rainstorm of an opener, to the dark riffs and skidding melodies of McCoy Tyner’s Four By Five, and a headlong and then dreamily slinky account of Mal Waldron’s Soul Eyes. An Embraceable You/Lover Man medley explores both Allen’s wealth of piano-jazz resources and Kenny Davis’s warm bass variations, and Charlie Parker’s Ah Leu Cha emerges at a jangling gallop out of a martial drums-and-tap tattoo. It barely lets up for a moment.

John Fordham (The Guardian)