Geri Allen passed away yesterday (Tuesday, June 27, 2017). I worked with Geri, as her assistant in the Jazz Studies office. It was my second assignment through the temp office at the University of Pittsburgh. When I first heard the news, I was shocked. I saw someone on Facebook posted a picture of her, with a caption saying something like Rest In Peace my dear friend.
When I was her assistant, I remember not agreeing with her most of the time, and finding it hard to work with her, because I never knew what she wanted or needed done. She was a musician and I was a type A, organized, administrative assistant. She was creative soul and a brilliant pianist.
Unfortunately I never had a taste for the Jazz and never appreciated it, even as her assistant, but in this moment I am listening to Geri Allen play the piano on Spotify for the first time. I still don’t have the apperciation, and the liking for Jazz, but it is nice to hear her play the piano and it is comforting and strange as well.
A few minutes ago, I called Frank, he is her assistant now. I trained him during Jazz Seminar week. He and I went to lunch with her on my last day. She picked up the tab and we took the picture that is above. Frank is hanging in and he feels empty. He told me about the tribute to her that will take place during this year’s jazz seminar.
Today, I feel numb and a little nothing. I knew her. I worked for her. She was my boss. I didn’t always understand how and why she did things, and we didn’t really connect, but I grew to respect her at the end, and I enjoyed our conversation at lunch that day, and now she is gone. It is weird.
Rest In Peace, Geri.