Fifty-five years after he moved to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica, his hometown, pianist Monty Alexander is an American classic, touring the world relentlessly with various projects, delighting a global audience drawn to his vibrant personality and soulful message. His spirited conception is one informed by the timeless verities: endless melody-making, effervescent grooves, sophisticated voicings, a romantic spirit, and a consistent predisposition, as Alexander accurately states, “to build up the heat and kick up a storm.”
In the course of any given performance, Alexander applies those aesthetics to repertoire spanning a broad range of jazz and Jamaican musical expression – the American songbook and the blues, gospel and bebop, calypso and reggae. Like his ‘eternal inspiration’, Erroll Garner, Alexander – cited as the fifth greatest jazz pianist ever in The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of All Time (Hal Leonard Publishing) and mentioned in Robert Doerschuk’s 88: The Giants of Jazz Piano – gives the hardcore-jazz-obsessed much to dig into while also communicating the message to the squarest ‘civilian’.
He performs tonight with his trio; JJ Shakur on bass and Jason Brown on drums.