Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

348

Monty Alexander: Stir It Up: The Music Of Bob Marley

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Proof, as if any was still necessary, that Reggae king Bob Marley wrote songs melodic enough for jazz. Grover Washington, Jr. was one of the first during the 1970s to do jazz covers of Marley's music. Then guitarist Charlie Hunter put the definitive stamp on his 1997 cover of the Natty Dread album. Now comes Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander's Stir It Up: The Music Of Bob Marley, a fine yet ultimately frustrating tribute.

Alexander's been around since the mid 1960s. He made some of his best music for the German MPS label during the 1970s and he's remained active on American labels ever since. So it's sort of difficult to factor his rather low profile with the sheer volume of records he's made over the years.

Stir It Up seems custom-made to change all that. That's part of the problem. Virtually a "greatest hits" package, much of this set will be familiar even to non-Reggae listeners. But Alexander's rather lackluster presentation of such otherwise lively material is far too pervasive. It suggests the house pianist of a Caribbean hotel lounge forced to cover Marley for the tourists, rather than play it because it means something to him.

Presented similarly to Joe Henderson's Jobim tribute, Stir It Up alternates Alexander's piano between a lively Jamaican "roots" septet and a more traditional American jazz quartet. Alexander gets particularly fired up on "I Shot The Sheriff" and So Ja Sah;" both significantly ignited and enlivened by trombonist Steve Turre's presence.

The disc's single best moment comes on the funky and righteous "Could You Be Loved" (presented straight and in a bonus, pumped-up Sly Dunbar dance remix for the club crowd), where the refined and compelling Alexander plays it like he means it.

Only tourists and the curious need apply.

Songs:Jammin'; Kaya; The Heathen; Could You Be Loved; Running Away; Stir It Up; Is This Love?; No Woman, No Cry; Crisis; I Shot The Sheriff; So Ja Sah; Nesta (He Touched The sky); Could You Be Lvoed (Extended Remix featuring Sly Dunbar).

Players:Monty Alexander: piano with Jamaican Reggae 'Ridim' Section The Gumption Band (Dwight Dawes: keyboards; Robert Angus: guitar; Trevor McKenzie: bass; Glen Brown: bass; Rolando Wilson: drums; Desmond Jones: percussion) and USA Jazz Rhythm Section (Derek DiCenzo: guitar; Hasan J.J. Wiggins: bass; Troy Davis: drums).

Title: Stir It Up: The Music Of Bob Marley | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Telarc Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Music in the Room CD/LP/Track Review Music in the Room
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2017
Read Of Light and Shadows CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read The Chicago Blues Box 2 CD/LP/Track Review The Chicago Blues Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 9, 2017
Read I Speilvendthet CD/LP/Track Review I Speilvendthet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Book Of Sound CD/LP/Track Review Book Of Sound
by Gareth Thompson
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "A Dark and Stormy Day" CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "Far from Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far from Over
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Sanctified" CD/LP/Track Review Sanctified
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 1, 2017
Read "Life Of Sensitive Creatures" CD/LP/Track Review Life Of Sensitive Creatures
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 4, 2017
Read "Alcanza" CD/LP/Track Review Alcanza
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 25, 2017

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!