Monty Alexander Revisited
In summer 2016 I went to Monty Alexander’s performance at the Victoria Hall in Geneva. It was exceptional as Monty and his bands merged jazz and reggae rhythms seamlessly. Have you heard of him? Here is a brief biography from his website.
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 performed and recorded with artists from every corner of the musical and entertainment world: Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sony Rollins, Clarke Terry, Quincy Jones, Barbara Hendricks, Bill Cosby, Bobby McFerrin, Sly Dunbar, and Robbie Shakespeare among others.
Born on D-Day (June 6, 1944) and raised in Kingston Jamaica, he took his first piano lessons at age six, although he is largely self-taught. As a teenager he witnessed concerts by Louis Armstrong and Nat “King” Cole at Kingston’s Carib Theatre. These artists had a profound effect on Alexander’s aspirations. He formed Monty and the Cyclones in the late 1950s and also recorded on sessions with the musicians that would catapult Jamaican music to international recognition as The Skatalites (Bob Marley’s first backing band).
To date Monty has recorded over 70 albums. He was awarded the Jamaican Government title of Commander of Distinction, in 2000. In summer of 2012 Monty was awarded the prestigious German Jazz Trophy, “A Life for Jazz” and in November 2012 he received the Caribbean American Luminary Award from the Institute of Caribbean Studies in Washington D.C. His release “Harlem Kingston Express: Live!” received a Grammy Nomination in 2012.
Monty Alexander performed a few months ago here in Geneva. It was an electrifying experience.
For more go to: http://montyalexander.com.
Extract from Monty Alexander’s Official Biography