Featuring JJ Shakur and Jason Brown
Born in Kingston, Jamaica on D-Day, Monty Alexander was blessed with prodigious pianistic skills that were evident from age four, a fairly typical age for wunderkinds. He began classical piano training at six and with a notable change of emphasis, was becoming an accomplished jazz interpreter by 14. He was gigging in Kingston clubs in his teens when his family moved briefly to Miami and then settled to New York. In this jazz-rich atmosphere, Monty caught on with major players and formed friendships with bassist Ray Brown and another giant, vibist Milt Jackson. He recorded his first album as a leader at just 20 and flourished as a bandleader ever since.
Monty’s playing has always retained a strong Caribbean influence, but with a significant bebop flavor and a bright swinging feeling. Influenced predominantly by Nat Cole, Frank Sinatra, Oscar Peterson, and Wynton Kelly, Alexander became known for his surprise musical twists and the ability to build dramatic suspense. His roots are evident in all of his playing, both on piano and the related melodica, a keyboarded wind instrument.
The following is the essence of Monty Alexander in his own words:
“I love Jamaica. I love America. I love them both together more than each one separately. I inhabit the rhythmic aspect of both things. I can’t explain why. I do it naturally and joyfully.”
Monty Alexander – piano and melodica
J.J. Shakur – double bass
Jason Brown – drums