A Child Is Born

A Child Is Born

Pianist and composer Geri Allen’s A Child Is Born is a low-key keeper. It’s the sort of Christmas album a non-lover of holiday music can enjoy, but it also has traditional appeal. It follows 2010’s Flying Toward the Sound, which found Allen alone at the piano paying tribute to three of her influences: Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Cecil Taylor. A Child Is Born is also mostly a solo-piano effort, but three cuts have vocals, and Allen adds other keyboard touches here and there. Most of the tracks are familiar Christmas songs, but Allen also includes a few originals and a Thad Jones–penned piece. The album opens with “Angels We Have Heard on High,” which quietly uses modern jazz harmony while honoring the tune. By contrast, “Away in a Manger” (part of “Christmas Medley”) is presented in a pretty straightforward fashion. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” incorporates samples of vocal recordings—from 1942 and 2002—of the women of the Gee's Bend Quilters Collective. The combination and contrast of Allen’s keyboards and the folk singing is both eerie and moving.

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada