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Celebrating almost fifty years of professional music, Live at the Iridium is a fitting testament to the unique passion and tremendous talent of master improviser Monty Alexander.
Alexander began his career as a youth in Jamaica, where he first encountered jazz through live concerts performed by such iconic figures as Louis Armstrong. This early exposure launched Alexander on a tremendous journey of discovery that would not only bring jazz to Alexander, but the rhythms, sounds, and styles of Jamaica to jazz.
What better way, then, to mark the pianist's ongoing legacy than a recording which captures Alexander in the arena he has come to master: live performance. Those who have heard him play will attest to the infectious quality of his style, bristling with an optimism neither trite nor contrived, but developed over a lifetime of experience.
Performed with Alexander's current preferred lineup of Hassan Shakur on bass and Mark Taylor on drums, with the addition of Robert Thomas, Jr. on hand drums, the album presents nine tunes, including standards and Alexander originals. From the extended, swinging opener "The Work Song"? to the contemplative ballad "The River,"? to the jaunty, hand drum driven "Mount Zanda,"? Alexander's playing bursts with energy and overflows with his characteristic ability to seamlessly incorporate quote after quote, and reference after reference without either breaking stride or subverting the continuity and power of his playing. This is live music as it should be, flowing free and effortlessly from the very center of the musician's personality.
Those familiar with Alexander's exploits and long history will undoubtedly check out this slice of his career, and those unfamiliar will find this a worthy introduction.
Track Listing: 1. The Work Song 2. Slappin' 3. My Mother's Eyes 4. Happylypso/Funji Mama 5. The River 6. Runnin' Away 7. Little Darlin' 8. Mount Zanda 9. That's the Way It Is
Personnel: Monty Alexander: Piano;
Hassan Shakur: Bass;
Mark Taylor: Drums;
Robert Thomas, Jr.: Hand Drums.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...