The Monty Alexander Trio
In a career spanning five decades, pianist Monty Alexander has built a reputation exploring and bridging the worlds of American jazz, popular song, and the music of his native Jamaica, finding in each a sincere spirit of musical expression. In the process, he has performed and recorded with artists from every corner of the musical universe and entertainment world: Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Bill Cosby, Bobby McFerrin, and Sly Dunbar, among others.
Alexander maintains an active touring schedule, from intimate jazz clubs to concert halls and jazz festivals around the globe. His collaborations span multiple genres, styles, and generations. His projects have been as varied as assisting Natalie Cole in her tribute album to her father, Nat "King" Cole in 1991 (the resulting album, Unforgettable, won seven Grammy awards), performing George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" under the direction of Bobby McFerrin at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, and recording the piano track for the film score of Clint Eastwood's Bird, a movie about the life of jazz titan Charlie Parker.
As a leader, Monty Alexander has recorded over 60 albums to date. His 1976 Montreux (Switzerland) Jazz Festival performance with drummer Jeff Hamilton and bassist John Clayton has become one of the most celebrated live recordings in contemporary jazz. His most recent albums on the Telarc label include trio sessions, such as Impressions in Blue, and the live concert recording Goin' Yard. In the late summer of 2005, Alexander traveled to Bob Marley's Tuff Gong Studio in Kingston, Jamaica, and teamed up with top Jamaican session players to record Concrete Jungle, a set of twelve Bob Marley compositions reinterpreted through Alexander's jazz piano-centered arrangements. The resulting union of musical perspectives digs deep into the Marley legend and brings together the two worlds that Alexander most treasures, building the musical bridges that are the very essence of his craft. As a testament to his versatility, The Good Life, on Chesky Records is a collection of songs written and popularized by one of his all time favorite artists and good friends, Tony Bennett. His current release on Chesky is Calypso Blues, a tribute to his hero Nat Cole.
With the invitation and encouragement of Wynton Marsalis, Alexander conceived and directed the acclaimed program Lords of the West Indies at Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2008, broadcast nationally on BETJ. Alexander returns to Jazz at Lincoln Center in the Fall 2009 with a new program Harlem Kingston Express.
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