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Album Review

During his long career, pianist Monty Alexander excelled in trio settings, and he's primarily heard in this collection of live performances at various venues with two different groups, with these recordings all coming from his personal archives. Kicking off with an inspired, upbeat "Come Fly with Me" (forever associated with vocalist Frank Sinatra), Alexander seems in a jovial mood throughout most of the CD. He has a lot of fun with "Sweet Georgia Brown," opening with a bit of stride before shifting into a wild ride incorporating some Thelonious Monk-like dissonance, but in the typical uptempo setting favored by Oscar Peterson. His interpretation of John Lewis' "Django" retains its standard dramatic introduction; then he subtly swings it with a brief detour into "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," adding a bluesy air to it. At times, he inserts licks from a number of different songs à la Art Tatum or Dorothy Donegan, especially in the unusually hilarious setting of "Body and Soul." The closing medley begins with Alexander's sentimental ballad "Home," then segues into a lively, calypso-flavored performance of Blue Mitchell's "Fungii Mama." Alexander's Uplift is well-named, as these live recordings represent some of his best work from his half-century as a professional jazz pianist.

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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Uplift, Monty Alexander
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  • £7.90
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 04 March 2011

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