Join Doug Crane Wednesday evening September 28, beginning at 8 pm for the fourth and final week of National Piano Month.

On this program Doug features three women jazz pianists:

Geri Allen born in Pontiac, MI in 1957, passed away in Philadelphia, PA in 2017; Renee Rosnes born in Saskatchewan, Canada in 1962; and Junko Onishi born in Kyoto, Japan in 1967.

Geri Allen attended public schools in Detroit, began playing piano at the age of seven, graduated from Howard University in 1979 where she later was a faculty member, received a Masters Degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1982 and later taught at the New England Conservatory and the University of Michigan.  From 2013 until her passing in 2017 she was the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.  Her mentors included Marcus Belgrave and Kenny Barron.

She released her debut recording “The Printmakers” in 1985, the first of at least 20 under her leadership. She also appeared on recordings under the leadership of Steve Coleman, Charles Lloyd, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Betty Carter and most often with her then-husband Wallace Roney (1960-2020). Their son Wallace Roney, Jr., is a jazz trumpet player just like his father.

Renee Rosnes grew up in North Vancouver, British Columbia and began taking piano lessons at the age of three.

She received a Canada Council Award for the Arts in 1985 and soon after moved to New York City to continue her studies.  Besides recording prolifically as a bandleader, she was part of Wayne Shorter’s group in the late 1980s, worked with trombonist J.J. Johnson for about ten years before his passing in 1997, James Moody, Bobby Hutcherson and many others. She was a founding member of the SF Jazz Collective and is currently a member of the all-female band Artemis.  Her husband is pianist Bill Charlap.

After studying at Berklee College of Music, Junko Onishi relocated to New York City, where she played with Joe Henderson, Betty Carter, Kenny Garrett, and Mingus Dynasty. In May 1994, Junko Onishi played for a week at the Village Vanguard, with Wynton Marsalis’s sidemen, bassist Reginald Veal, and drummer Herlin Riley.  The engagement resulted in two of Junko’s finest recordings for Blue Note Records.

She stopped performing for two years in the late 1990s to focus on studying and practicing.  During this time pianist Jaki Byard, her mentor was murdered in his apartment.  It resulted in Junko to cease practicing for two years.  The homicide remains unsolved to this day. While still actively recording, the majority of her recent releases have not been issued in the US.

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