348

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

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Monty Alexander: Stir It Up: The Music Of Bob Marley 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 Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Such A Sky CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31 CD/LP/Track Review Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "A Missing Shade of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A Missing Shade of Blue
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Welcome to Swingsville!" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "57th & 9th" CD/LP/Track Review 57th & 9th
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "The Beautiful Day" CD/LP/Track Review The Beautiful Day
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Away With You" CD/LP/Track Review Away With You
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 9, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.