All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

253

Monty Alexander: Harlem-Kingson Express: Live at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola

Larry Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Pianist Monty Alexander has always worn his Jamaican heart on his sleeve, incorporated his country's good time music with jazz for over 50 years. With Harlem-Kingston Express: Live, his Motéma debut, , he ventures even further into reggae territory. Six of the 11 tracks were recorded in 2010 at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca Cola Club in New York City, with this, his most "reggaefied'' group yet.

A hybrid crew is onboard, stretched out across the club's stage, with Alexander, the engine, in the middle, at piano and keyboards, pushing and pulling the Express. The rest are connected: on his left, a traditional rhythm section; on the right, four Caribbean "rock steadies."

Heavy percussion with an irresistible Jamaican beat is a given, and becomes apparent immediately on Alexander's original "Strawberry Hill," with its heavily infectious, third-beat rhythm. On Bob Marley's "The Heathen," the sound veers somewhat toward fusion, with Commander Zander's keyboard dominating.

The tracks are switched, with mainstream jazz leading the way on R. Higgenbotham's "High Heel Sneakers." Funk, calypso and R&B merge on the Bernie/Casey chestnut, "Sweet Georgia Brown," particularly in Alexander's joyous, Jamaican-stride piano finish, along with features for guitarist Andy Bassford and bassist Hassur Shakur.

Slowing the express during a quieter stretch, Milt Jackson's "Compassion" shows off Alexander's tender side in a solo beautifully framed by Bernard Montgomery's soulful melodica. Pushing the throttle up a notch, Marley's "No Woman No Cry" puts Alexander in a lyrical mood within a trio setting.

The Jamaican traditional, "Day O (Banana Boat Song)," made wildly popular by Harry Belafonte in the 1950s, closes out the live New York live session. Illustrating Alexander's affecting way with a crowd, he begins low-key on keyboards, but soon the folk tune evolves into a percussion free-for-all. Midway, the leader urges the crowd on in a call-response vocal where—as is the case throughout this recording, Alexander clearly has this Express completely on track.

Track Listing: Strawberry Hill; High Heel Sneakers; King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown; Eleuthera; Sweet Georgia Brown; Freddy the Freeloader; The Heathen; Compassion; Running Away; Day-O (Banana Boat Song); No Woman No Cry.

Personnel: Monty Alexander: piano, keyboards; Yotam Silberstein: guitar; Andy Bassford:electric guitar; Hassan Shakur: acoustic bass; Hoova Simpson: electric bass; Karl Wright: drums; Obed Calvaire: drums; Bernard Montgomery: melodica (9); Frits Landesbergen: drums (8); Robert Browne: guitar (1, 9); Glen Browne: electric bass (1,9); Desmond Jack Jones:drums (1, 9); Christopher McDonald, keyboards (1, 9).

Title: Harlem-Kingson Express: Live at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Motema Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Humanities CD/LP/Track Review
Humanities
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Wild Is The Wind CD/LP/Track Review
Wild Is The Wind
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review
Fairytales
by Gareth Thompson
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read "Big Man on Campus" CD/LP/Track Review Big Man on Campus
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 7, 2017
Read "So Far" CD/LP/Track Review So Far
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited" CD/LP/Track Review Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 29, 2017
Read "Gnosis" CD/LP/Track Review Gnosis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "Then and Now" CD/LP/Track Review Then and Now
by Duncan Heining
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Zentuary" CD/LP/Track Review Zentuary
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 5, 2017