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Geri Allen: A Life in Song... and Jazz

Geri Allen, shown in a detail from her new CD, 'The Life of a Song.'
Geri Allen, shown in a detail from her new CD, 'The Life of a Song.'

Pianist and composer Geri Allen knew she wanted to be a jazz musician after spending most of her childhood listening to her father's jazz records.

It worked out, and now she plays some of the best spots in New York, Los Angeles and across Europe. But none of it came easily or quickly.

She got her first big step up in the music world when she was accepted to an arts magnet school in her hometown of Detroit. Then came a degree in jazz studies from Howard University; a masters in ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh; and finally invitations to perform in the United States and overseas.

Allen tells NPR's Liane Hansen about working with bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette on her latest CD, The Life of a Song.

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