9 Songs, 55 Minutes

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About Michel Sardaby & Monty Alexander

Caribbean-born pianist/composer Michel Sardaby is an adept jazz performer with a warm, sophisticated post-bop style. Born in Fort de France, Martinique in 1935, Sardaby grew up surrounded by music: His father owned a cafe and sold pianos. As a result, he played piano from a young age, and quickly revealed himself as a prodigy. Blanching under the strict tutelage of his private instructor, Sardaby initially stopped his piano studies, choosing instead to study art at the Boulle School in Paris. He eventually returned to his instrument full-time, and worked regularly throughout the '60s, playing with his own groups, and backing blues artists like T-Bone Walker, and Sonny Boy Williamson. As a leader, he made his recorded debut in the late '60s with the quartet session Five Cat's Blues and the live date Blue Sunset.

By the '70s, Sardaby was spending more time working in New York. His output picked up during this period with albums like 1970's Night Cap, a trio date featuring bassist Percy Heath and drummer Connie Kay. More well-regarded albums followed including 1974's Gail, recorded with bassist Richard Davis and drummer Billy Hart, and 1977's In New York, again with Davis as well as drummer Billy Cobham and percussionist Ray Barretto. These albums showcased both his lyricism and his growing interest in Latin and funk rhythms.

Although Sardaby stayed active, his recordings slowed over the next few years, before he returned with Caribbean Duet, a collaboration with pianist Monty Alexander. Going Places, a trio date with bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith, followed in 1989. A year later, he paired with bassist Jay Leonhart for Night Blossom. Straight On, a rare quintet date featuring trumpeter Louis Smith, saxophonist Ralph Moore, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Tony Reedus, appeared in 1993. Sardaby then moved to the Japanese label Sound Hills for a handful of efforts in the late '90s including Intense Moment, Classics & Ballads, and Voyage with bassist Ron Carter.

Since the early 2000s, Sardaby has recorded intermittently, issuing 2003's trio session Karen featuring bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Dion Parson, and At Home: Tribute to My Father, with bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Winard Harper. In 2006, the pianist celebrated his 70th birthday and a 50-plus-year career with the concert album A Night in Paris. ~ Matt Collar

HOMETOWN
Fort de France, Martinique, Frenc
GENRE
Jazz
BORN
September 4, 1935

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