All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

2

Monty Alexander: Uplift 2: Higher

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
This blazing CD is the official follow-up to the splendid Uplift, which in 2011 was one of the first releases from John Lee's fledgling label, Jazz Legacy Productions. Blending Alexander's past and present compadres—referred to here as "two timeless trios"—Higher features seven tracks with the peerless John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums, and four with the excellent Hassan Shakur and Frits Landesbergen in those respective roles.

As with every other Alexander CD—about 70 to date—this one is a swingfest that's guaranteed to buoy the mood and spirit. It begins with rousing arrangements of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "When the Saints Go Marching In" that segue into the laid-back cool of "I Love You Madly." Other highlights of this journey include an exuberant take on the classic "St Thomas" (unrecognizable from its exciting opener), the electrifying Hamilton solos on " Saints" and "Montevideo," and a new version of Ahmad Jamal's "Night Mist Blues," the song that famously opened his desert-island disk, Montreux Alexander (1976) with Clayton and Hamilton. Here, that trio takes all the cliché out of "You are My Sunshine," replacing it with humor and surprise. The action slows down just once, for "Close Enough for Love"—and even that ballad has an infectious pulse that ends up with a Latin feel.

The closer is a beautiful Alexander original, "Got to Go." As it seamlessly morphs from thoughtful ballad into lilting island mode, it provides a good demonstration of Alexander's signature talent for shifting dynamics. And while Alexander's music is always spontaneous, it's clearly headed somewhere; happily, there's none of the pretentious rambling that's cultivated in other jazz circles today. Instead, and as always, Alexander's playing is refreshing and distinctive, backed by rhythm sections that provide the ideal mutual support and inspiration.

Track Listing: Battle Hymn; When the Saints Go Marching; I Love You Madly; You Are My Sunshine; St. Thomas; Night Mist Blues; Montevideo; What a Friend; Close Enough for Love; Got to Go.

Personnel: Monty Alexander: piano; John Clayton, bass; Jeff Hamilton, drums; Hassan Shakur: bass; Frits Landesbergen: drums (tracks 5, 6, 10, 11).

Title: Uplift 2: Higher | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Jazz Legacy Productions

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Faroe CD/LP/Track Review
Faroe
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2018
Read The Darkness Of A Fairy Tale CD/LP/Track Review
The Darkness Of A Fairy Tale
by Gareth Thompson
Published: August 15, 2018
Read Stained Glass & Technicolor Grooves CD/LP/Track Review
Stained Glass & Technicolor Grooves
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 15, 2018
Read A Journey CD/LP/Track Review
A Journey
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 15, 2018
Read Decay Of The Angel CD/LP/Track Review
Decay Of The Angel
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica CD/LP/Track Review
Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 14, 2018
Read "Faces and Places" CD/LP/Track Review Faces and Places
by Kris Perdew
Published: October 25, 2017
Read "Duets" CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Heaven On Their Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "El Duende" CD/LP/Track Review El Duende
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 22, 2018
Read "Of Abstract Dreams" CD/LP/Track Review Of Abstract Dreams
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 29, 2018
Read "Mandala" CD/LP/Track Review Mandala
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 28, 2017