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Joey Alexander

Born on the island of Bali in the city of Denpasar on June 25th, 2003, Joey Alexander first encountered a piano at the age of six, and was immediately able to pick out the melody of Thelonious Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t” and other jazz standards from his father’s record collection by ear. His father, an amateur musician, nurtured Joey’s gift for swing and improvisation by introducing him to classic jazz recordings and taking him to jam sessions with seasoned musicians in Bali and Jakarta. From there, his musical intuition flourished, as did his love of playing jazz.

Learning by listening, Joey’s early influences include Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and John Coltrane, and he has a special affinity for trumpet players including Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis. Despite his lack of formal jazz training, Joey developed an authoritative technique, and with his depth of musicality he quickly rose in the Indonesian jazz scene and beyond. At age 8, UNESCO invited Joey to play solo piano in front of jazz icon Herbie Hancock during his visit to Indonesia. Joey drew significant inspiration from Herbie’s enthusiastic response to his playing. At age 10, Joey was featured at jazz festivals in both Jakarta and Copenhagen, and he won the international improvisation contest in Odessa, Ukraine – besting over 200 jazz professionals from 17 countries. In 2014, Joey performed at star-studded galas in New York City for Jazz at Lincoln Center in Rose Hall, the Jazz Foundation of America at the Apollo and the Arthur Ashe Learning Center at Gotham Hall.

On May 12, 2015, Joey Alexander released his highly anticipated debut album ‘My Favorite Things’ on the Grammy-winning Harlem-based label Motema Music. On his debut recording, Alexander performs classic tunes from Coltrane to Rodgers & Hammerstein with a deft touch, adventurous spirit and improvisatory verve. ‘My Favorite Things’ was produced by Grammy-winning producer Jason Olaine. Accompanying Joey on the album are bassist Larry Grenadier and 2-time Grammy-winning drummer Ulysses Owens, as well as three talented young players from the New York scene, Russell Hall (bass), Sammy Miller (drums) and Alphonso Horne (trumpet). Alexander’s imagination, sophisticated arrangements and dazzling playing make ‘My Favorite Things’ a soulful and joyful musical adventure. It is also a statement of intent, a compelling introduction to a budding young leader, performer and composer, who plays with power and elation. From his impressionistic introduction to “Giant Steps” to the spirited interplay with his band mates on “It Might As Well Be Spring,” to his remarkable rendition of “Over the Rainbow,” Joey proves himself a true and distinctive jazz professional.

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Radio & Podcasts

Joey Alexander: I Just Happened To Start Early

Read "Joey Alexander: I Just Happened To Start Early" reviewed by Leo Sidran

When Joey Alexander made his first appearance in the States nearly a decade ago, it seemed to send a kind of shockwave through the jazz world. He was 10 years old when Wynton Marsalis invited him to travel from his native Indonesia (he was born in Bali but moved to Jakarta to pursue his music) to New York to perform at the Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala. He played a solo arrangement of “Round Midnight." It was incredible.

Album Review

Joey Alexander: Continuance

Read "Continuance" reviewed by Neil Duggan

At some point, even a child prodigy grows up. Now 20 years old, Balinese pianist, Joey Alexander has come long way from the six- year-old exposed to Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans, the eight-year-old playing in front of Herbie Hancock and the ten-year-old winning improvisation competitions. It may be hard to believe but Continuance is his seventh release. Given his age, ability and meteoric rise, expectations are always high, perhaps unfairly so. In his expected progress ...

Radio & Podcasts

Chris Botti, Joey Alexander & Lennie Moore

Read "Chris Botti, Joey Alexander & Lennie Moore" reviewed by Joe Dimino

We kick off the 825th Episode of Neon Jazz with prolific composer Lennie Moore and music from his 2023 album Mentors. From there, we hear from a legend whp had a profound influence on his cognition of jazz in Chick Corea. We also hear new material from Joey Alexander, Klas Lindquist, Bobby Zankel and Chris Botti. and profile the talented new trio, Nite Bjuti. We wrap up the show with previously unreleased music from Oscar Peterson's Live in Lugano. Dig ...

Album Review

Joey Alexander: Origin

Read "Origin" reviewed by Peter Jones

Pianist Joey Alexander was never going to spend his life churning out standards. You could tell from his reimagined version of “Giant Steps," the first track on his 2015 debut album, which begins with a dazzling two-minute solo introduction. The same album also features an original tune, the prowling “Ma Blues." It was clearly only going to be a matter of time before he came up with an all-originals album, and so it is with this, his sixth outing. Meanwhile ...

Album Review

Dewa Budjana: Naurora

Read "Naurora" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Balinese guitarist Dewa Budjana's seventh album on Moonjune Records, Naurora, reveals--for those who have not heard him--a musician of seemingly unlimited talent and an artist in possession of an expansive vision. He has been called a “progressive fusion maestro" and, if he has to be labeled, that description feels right. Leading off with this disc's eleven-minute title tune, Budjana--who composed, arranged and produced the music here--lays down huge, rich soundscapes in the company of a bunch of forward-looking allstars, including ...

Radio & Podcasts

Joey Alexander, Kenny Barron and Ellis Marsalis

Read "Joey Alexander, Kenny Barron and Ellis Marsalis" reviewed by Joe Dimino

Neon Jazz is here for during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week we start the show with the young and very talented Joey Alexander and wrap it up with the late, great Ellis Marsalis. Support the jazz and enjoy the music. Playlist Joey Alexander “Warna" Warna (Verve) 00:00 Host talks 7:03 Wallace Roney “Children's Games'" Rememberance (TCB) 9:52 Moses Boyd “Stranger Than Fiction" Dark Matter (Exodus Records) 16:17 Host talks 21:09 Fred Wackenhut Quartet “This I Dig of You ...

Live Review

Joey Alexander Trio With Chris Potter at SFJAZZ

Read "Joey Alexander Trio With Chris Potter at SFJAZZ" reviewed by Harry S. Pariser

Joey Alexander Trio with Chris PotterSFJAZZ San Francisco, CA December 13, 2018 Child prodigies have long maintained an important presence in jazz. These have included Bix Beiderbecke, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Keith Jarrett. Jarrett gave his first formal recital at the age of seven. Hancock performed on piano with the Chicago symphony at age eleven. Buddy Rich first played drums at eighteen months, while Williams first performed professionally at age thirteen and joined Miles ...

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May 14 Tue


Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Mack Avenue Records



Mack Avenue Records



MoonJune Records



Verve Music Group



Motéma Music



Motéma Music



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