This holiday season, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning warmly presents LOVE NOTES, a Jazz piano concert with Monty Alexander.
Jazz pianist Monty Alexander makes a point of telling his audiences that he was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1944, and that he immigrated to the United States in 1961. Alexander has never neglected his Carribean roots and has created many fruitful mashups of jazz with calypso, reggae, mento, and other island music. His two albums of the music of Bob Marley, Stir It Up (1999) and Concrete Jungle (2006) are particular triumphs, as was his 2011 Harlem – Kingston Express Live! which qualified him as virtually the only jazz pianist to be nominated for a Grammy for Best Reggae album.
At 74, he tours the world relentlessly with various projects, delighting a global audience drawn to his vibrant personality and soulful message. His spirited conception, documented on more than 70 CDs, draws upon the timeless verities: endless melody-making, effervescent grooves, sophisticated voicings, a romantic spirit, and a consistent predisposition, as Alexander says, “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.”