267

Monty Alexander: Monty Alexander Meets Sly and Robbie

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
Hot on the heels of Stir It Up, his popular Bob Marley tribute album, Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander has joined forces with reggae's most famous rhythm section, Sly Dunbar (drums) and Robbie Shakespeare (bass).

While Stir It Up offered jazz versions of reggae songs, this follow-up studio release delivers reggae versions of familiar jazz numbers with a couple of soul covers thrown in. The music is radio friendly, but the beats are mechanical. And unfortunately, Alexander displays little of the improvisational artistry found on his superb straight-ahead albums or his calypso-jazz recordings Ivory and Steel, Caribbean Circle or his reggae-jazz work on Ernest Ranglin's Below the Bass line.

This collaboration does yield a few nice moments, however. "Soulful Strut" is given an irresistible island groove and "Mercy Mercy" adapts well to the reggae interpretation. "Moanin'" is likably funky, and Alexander does get jazzy on "In Crowd." But the latter is hampered by machine-generated beats that sound like explosions in a video game.

Unfortunately, my complaints about this album hold true for most contemporary reggae. Since the dub style became dominant in the '80s, technology and production have overwhelmed the vast majority of recent reggae recordings, rendering many of them soulless.

To be fair, Sly and Robbie are masters of the dub style, and they're better than most at making technology sound earthy. Consequently, this CD is a nice piece of ear candy, much like an all-instrumental album by UB40. No doubt it will sell a lot of copies. But it's the least challenging album I've heard from Monty Alexander, so I advise jazz purists to steer clear.

| Record Label: Telarc Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Bombogenic" CD/LP/Track Review Bombogenic
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 21, 2016
Read "City Of Poets" CD/LP/Track Review City Of Poets
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Mortality" CD/LP/Track Review Mortality
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "Brasil L.I.K.E" CD/LP/Track Review Brasil L.I.K.E
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "South Beat" CD/LP/Track Review South Beat
by Edward Blanco
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Everyone Is Everyone Else" CD/LP/Track Review Everyone Is Everyone Else
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!