182

Monty Alexander: Live at the Iridium

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Monty Alexander belongs to the same piano tradition as Gene Harris and Junior Mance. All have a firm command of the blues that can effectively be translated into the ballad realm. Monty Alexander has been cultivating this style and approach for thirty years, with fresh evidence on his new live recording. Alexander's affiliation with the two-fisted block chord approach is fully realized on Nate Adderley's "The Work Song," Neal Hefti's "Little Darlin'," and his own "That's the Way it Is." This is soulful orchestral piano playing, well conceived and thoughtfully executed. Long on intellect and emotion and short on cliché', Mr. Alexander perfectly distills his Caribbean roots into his interpretations of the American Standards.

Recorded at New York City's Iridium, Live At the Iridium sums up a piano career in nine lengthy pieces. "The Work Song" and "Slappin'" are fully in the hard bop-funk mode. The rhythm section of bassist Hassan Shakur and drummer Mark Taylor propel and are propelled by Alexander, who brings in his secret weapon of percussionist Robert Thomas, Jr. to turn up rhythm heat that much more. Commanding is how I would describe it. Alexander resurrects the ballad "My Mother's Eyes" from the 1929 film Lucky Boy, infusing the piece with warmth and grace.

"Happylypso/Funji Mama" allow Alexander to exert his island experiences musically. Percussionist Robert Thomas adds much to the ebb and flow of the island beat. "The River," from Alexander's spirituals recording of the same title, comes off as solo piano deep, still waters. The climax of the recording is Neal Hefti's "Little Darlin'." Mr. Alexander begins in a blue mode, flatting 5ths and 7ths and strolling into the familiar Basie introduction. He gives a seminar in crescendo building and tension gathering. Live at the Iridium is a fine live jazz recording, best suited to fans of Gene Harris, Junior Mance, Oscar Peterson, or Benny Green.

Monty Alexander is one of the finest practitioners of the standard jazz piano trio performing today.

Track Listing: 1. Work Song, The; 2. Slappin'; 3. My Mother's Eyes; 4. Happylypso / Funji Mama; 5. River, The; 6. Runnin' Away; 7. Little Darlin'; 8. Mount Zanda; 9. That's The Way It Is.

Personnel: Monty Alexander (piano); Hassan Shakur (bass instrument); Robert Thomas Jr. (drums, percussion); Mark Taylor (drums). Recording information: Iridium Jazz Club, New York, New York (05/21/2004 - 05/23/2004).

Title: Live At The Iridium | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Telarc Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Stawberry Hill

Stawberry Hill

Monty Alexander
Harlem Kingston Express

Radio
Live Reviews
New York @ Night
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Catching Up With
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
  • Uplift by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Extended Analysis
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
The River Rolls On

The River Rolls On

Motéma Music
2015

buy
Uplift 2: Higher

Uplift 2: Higher

Jazz Legacy Productions
2013

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

Harlem-Kingson...

Motéma Music
2011

buy
Harlem-Kingston Express Live!

Harlem-Kingston...

Motéma Music
2011

buy
Uplift

Uplift

Jazz Legacy Productions
2011

buy

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Read Burning Meditation Album Reviews
Burning Meditation
By John Sharpe
April 18, 2019
Read Remembering Cecil Album Reviews
Remembering Cecil
By Dan McClenaghan
April 18, 2019
Read Apophenia Album Reviews
Apophenia
By Roger Farbey
April 18, 2019
Read Transcending the Sum Album Reviews
Transcending the Sum
By Chris May
April 17, 2019
Read Punkt.Vrt.Plastik Album Reviews
Punkt.Vrt.Plastik
By John Sharpe
April 17, 2019
Read Glitter Wolf Album Reviews
Glitter Wolf
By Jennifer DeMeritt
April 17, 2019
Read American Love Call Album Reviews
American Love Call
By John Bricker
April 17, 2019