Past Event

Feed the Fire: A Cyber Symposium in Honor of Geri Allen

November 5, 2020
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
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Feed the Fire: A Cyber Symposium in Honor of Geri Allen celebrates the work of the late pianist, composer, improvisor, and educator and serves as a launch for a special issue of the journal Jazz and Culture, “The Power of Geri Allen.” Feed the Fire focuses on Allen’s work in music as a performer, composer, teacher, activist, and mentor, and features a keynote event with Terri Lyne Carrington (Berklee College of Music), Angela Davis (University of California, Santa Cruz), Gina Dent (University of California, Santa Cruz), and Farah Jasmine Griffin (Columbia University).

This online event is free and open to the public and is part of a week-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Pitt Jazz Seminar:

Registration required at



Mount Allen III (SFJAZZ)
Dwight Andrews (Emory University)
Courtney Bryan (Tulane University)
Terri Lyne Carrington (Berklee College of Music)
Angela Davis (University of California at Santa Cruz)
Gina Dent (University of California at Santa Cruz)
Michael Dessen (University of California at Irvine)
Kevin Fellezs (Columbia University)
Farah Jasmine Griffin (Columbia University)
Michael Heller (University of Pittsburgh)
Ellie M. Hisama (Columbia University)
Vijay Iyer (Harvard University)
Aaron J. Johnson (University of Pittsburgh)
Veronica Johnson (Detroit Sound Conservancy)
Tammy L. Kernodle (Miami University)
George E. Lewis (Columbia University)
Nicole Mitchell Gantt (University of Pittsburgh)
Fred Moten (New York University / Tisch School of the Arts)
Robert O’Meally (Columbia University)
Yoko Suzuki (University of Pittsburgh)
Francis Wong (Asian Improv Arts)

The symposium is sponsored by the Society of Fellows/Heyman Center for the Humanities, the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department, and the Institute for Research on African American Studies at Columbia University and the Jazz Studies Program and the Department of Music at the University of Pittsburgh. Co-sponsoring the event are the Center for Jazz Studies, the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality, the Department of Music and the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University; the Barnard Center for Research on Women, the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the Department of Africana Studies at Barnard College; and the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program and the Humanities Center of the University of Pittsburgh.




9:30 – 9:45 am Opening Remarks
Farah Jasmine Griffin
 (Columbia University) & Nicole Mitchell Gantt (University of Pittsburgh)

9:45 am – 12:30 pm The Power of Geri Allen
Moderator: Michael Heller (University of Pittsburgh)

9:45 – 10:00 am Opening remarks and Allen’s M.A. Thesis on Eric Dolphy
Michael Heller

10:00 – 10:15 am  Geri Allen and “The Whole Feeling of the Connection”
Ellie M. Hisama (Columbia University)

10:15 – 10:30 am The Deft, Quiet Shout of Her Hands: Geri Allen’s Speculative Musicalities
Vijay Iyer (Harvard University)

10:30 – 10:45 am Searching for a New Place: Exploratory Process in Geri Allen’s Compositions and Performances
Yoko Suzuki (University of Pittsburgh)

10:45 – 11:00 am Geri Allen’s Sacred Works: More than the Music
Dwight Andrews (Emory University)

11:00 – 11:30 am Q&A/Discussion

11:30 am – 12:00 pm  Home Grown: Geri Allen's Detroit as a Gateway to Jazz
Veronica Johnson 
(Detroit Sound Conservancy)

12:00 – 12:15 pm  Response
Tammy L. Kernodle
 (Miami University)

12:15 – 12:30 pm Q&A

12:30 – 1:00 pm Break

1:00 – 2:30 pm Flying Toward the Sound: Geri Allen’s Work in Telematics
Moderator: Aaron J. Johnson (University of Pittsburgh)

Mount Allen III (SFJAZZ)
Michael Dessen (University of California at Irvine)
George E. Lewis (Columbia University)
Nicole Mitchell Gantt (University of Pittsburgh)
Francis Wong (Asian Improv Arts)

2:30 – 3:15 pm Some Aspects of Water: Ongoing Research on Geri Allen’s Legacy
Moderator: Robert O’Meally (Columbia University)

The Power of Representation
Courtney Bryan (Tulane University)

Message to Love: Geri Allen, Jimi Hendrix, and Love in a Time of Social Distancing
Kevin Fellezs (Columbia University)

3:15 – 3:30 pm Break

3:30 – 5:30 pm Geri Allen: Feed the Fire (Keynote Session)
Moderator: Farah Jasmine Griffin (Columbia University)

3:30 – 3:45 pm Poetry reading
Fred Moten 
(New York University / Tisch School of the Arts)

3:45 – 5:00 pm Remembering Geri Allen
Moderator: Farah Jasmine Griffin (Columbia University)

Terri Lyne Carrington (Berklee College of Music)
Angela Davis (University of California at Santa Cruz)
Gina Dent (University of California at Santa Cruz)

5:00 – 5:20 pm Keynote performance
Courtney Bryan

5:20 – 5:30 pm Closing remarks
Robert O’Meally