Twylight: Geri Allen’s Jazz Masterpiece from 1989

Geri Allen, a talented pianist, recorded the album “Twylight” in early 1989, which was later released on the Minor Music label in Germany. The album features a stellar lineup of musicians, including bassist Anthony Cox and drummer Steve Berrios, and showcases Allen’s unique approach to jazz piano playing.

Introduction: Geri Allen’s Legacy in Jazz Music

Geri Allen was an American jazz pianist, composer, and educator who significantly impacted the jazz scene during her lifetime. Born June 12, 1957, in Pontiac, Michigan, Allen started playing piano at a young age and was quickly recognized as a prodigious talent. She went on to study at Howard University and the University of Pittsburgh before embarking on a career as a professional jazz musician.

Throughout her career, Allen recorded numerous albums and collaborated with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden, and Betty Carter. She was also a respected educator, teaching at the University of Michigan, the New England Conservatory of Music, and the University of Pittsburgh.

One of Allen’s most celebrated albums is Twylight, recorded in 1989 and released on the German Minor Music label. The album features Allen’s signature blend of improvisation, composition, and tradition, showcasing her unique approach to jazz piano playing.

The Making of Twylight

Geri Allen recorded Twylight in early 1989 at Tonstudio Bauer in Ludwigsburg, Germany. Stefan Winter, who had previously worked with Allen on her 1988 album, Open on All Sides in the Middle, produced the album. The recording session featured Allen on piano, Anthony Cox on bass, and Steve Berrios on drums.

The musicians recorded the album in two days, playing together in the same room to capture a live, improvisational feel. The resulting sound is intimate and raw, with each musician contributing to a cohesive whole.

The Music of Twylight

Twylight features eight original compositions by Allen, each showcasing her unique blend of traditional jazz styles and experimental approaches. The album opens with “Dolphy’s Dance,” a tribute to the late jazz saxophonist Eric Dolphy. Allen’s piano soars above Cox’s pounding bassline and Berrios’ driving rhythm.

Other standout tracks on the album include “Feed the Fire,” a funky, up-tempo number that showcases Allen’s elegant piano playing, and “Lulu’s Back in Town,” a playful and swinging tribute to the jazz standard. The album closes with “Dark Prince,” a hauntingly beautiful ballad highlighting Allen’s lyrical and expressive playing.

Allen’s piano playing throughout the album is technically impressive and emotionally expressive. Her solos are filled with unexpected turns and twists, keeping the listener excited. At the same time, she always retains sight of the melody or the underlying structure of the song, resulting in a cohesive and satisfying listening experience.

Legacy of Twylight

Twylight was a critical success upon its release, with many critics praising Allen’s innovative approach to jazz piano playing. The album helped to establish Allen as an influential voice in the jazz world. It laid the tone for her 1990s The Nurturer and 1993’s Twenty-One, which were similarly well-received by reviewers and fans.

In addition to its critical acclaim, Twylight has had a lasting impact on jazz. The album’s blend of tradition and experimentation has influenced countless musicians. Its emphasis on live, improvisational playing continues to inspire jazz musicians today, making it a timeless classic.


In conclusion, Twylight is a timeless jazz masterpiece that showcases Geri Allen’s unique approach to jazz piano playing. Jazz lovers and performers love the album’s mix of traditional and experimental jazz approaches. The emphasis on live, improvisational playing adds to its unique and engaging sound. It has become a popular choice due to its unique and engaging sound.

Allen’s legacy in jazz music is undeniable, and Twylight is a testament to her talent and creativity as a pianist and composer. Her ability to blend tradition and experimentation seamlessly is a rare gift. It has helped shape the jazz landscape for decades.

While Allen passed away in 2017 at 60, her impact on the jazz world endures. Her music has inspired countless musicians and will continue for generations to come. And while Twylight is just one of many albums in Allen’s discography, it stands out as a true masterpiece that captures her unique vision and voice in a way few other recordings can match.

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