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The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions: So What?

Monty Alexander

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Album Review

Reissued on CD in 1998, this long-unavailable session was Monty Alexander's earliest recorded set of unaccompanied piano solos. He had recorded as a leader since 1965 but usually with trios. Alexander, who mixes together the influence and technique of Oscar Peterson with his Caribbean heritage and his own musical imagination, has been a masterful pianist from the start, so playing solo certainly did not faze him. The repertoire includes some then-current pop tunes (including Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" and "The Way We Were" which Alexander somehow uplifts) with romps on "St. Thomas," "So What," and a few originals. A very successful effort.

Biography

Born: 06 June 1944 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Monty Alexander long ago combined together the influence of Oscar Peterson with the soul of Gene Harris and Nat "King" Cole to form his own appealing and personable style. Long a bit underrated (due to the shadow of Peterson), Alexander has recorded more than a score of excellent albums. Monty Alexander began piano lessons when he was six and he played professionally in Jamaican clubs while still a teenager; his band, Monty and the Cyclones, was quite popular locally during 1958-1960. He first played...
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The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions: So What?, Monty Alexander
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