MI2N
Music Industry News Network
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17TH
Advanced Search
MusicDish Advertising Network
Subscribe to Mi2N's Free Newsletters B2N (business) i2N (indie)
HOME | FREE NEWS SUBMISSION | PREMIUM PR DISTRIBUTION | PR COPYWRITING | RSS FEEDS | TESTIMONIALS | CONTACT

Sections: Band | Business | Career | Events | Label | Music Releases | Radio | Tech | Video | Web Events
Genres: Country/Folk | Dance/Electronica | Jazz/Blues | Latin | Rock | Urban | World
International: Asia | Canada | Europe

Advertise | Artist Development | Submit Video | MusicDish*China | MusicDish e-Journal | MusicDish Network | Urban Music News Network
Music Releases (more headlines) 03-20-2013

CD Release: Monty Alexander 'Uplift 2' JLP

Bookmark and Share
Email: pr@ourgig.net
Website: http://jazzlegacyproductions.com/monty_uplift2/montyalexander.html
Music: http://jazzlegacyproductions.com/uplift2.mp3
JAZZ LEGACY PRODUCTIONS CD RELEASE: UPLIFT 2 Monty Alexander

Jamaica is known for the undulating sounds of reggae, but it also contributed mightily to the jazz continuum. Dizzy Reese, Ernest Ranglin, and Harry Beckett are from Jamaica, but perhaps the island's best-known jazz export is Monty Alexander, a pianist that's been enthralling jazz fans for decades. Alexander's 2011 album Uplift topped the JazzWeek chart twice that year—and when JazzWeek charted the most-played CDs of the year, Uplift was #5. Between that CD and Harlem-Kingston Express Live, Alexander has officially dominated the US Radio Charts with three # 1 spots, all in the summer of 2011. Harlem-Kingston Express (Motema, also 2011) was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Reggae Album category.

Born in Kingston 1944, the young Alexander took to the 88s as something of a prodigy. One night at age five he had observed a pianist play "White Christmas" in his home at a Christmas party. His mother recalls seeing young Monty playing that same tune with both hands the very next night. At age eight he took classical piano lessons but he'd already began loving the American jazz and Great American songbook pop (Tony Bennett, Nat "King" Cole) he heard on the radio. As a teenager, seeing Nat "King" Cole and Louis Armstrong perform had a major impact upon him. He'd also become interested in Jamaican music—Alexander would play with Clue J & His Blues Blasters, substituting for their regular pianist Aubrey Adams when he became unavailable. While few could conceive of it at the time, this band would prove to be a major watershed in Jamaican music history, incubating the talents of not only Alexander but Ernest Ranglin, Rico Rodriguez, and Roland Alphonso, all who'd go on to become prime movers in Jamaican ska, rocksteady, and reggae. By the end of 1961, Alexander's family relocated to that land of opportunity, the USA, where he further honed his skills. While playing with Art Mooney's orchestra in Las Vegas, he was spotted by a couple of high rollers, namely Frank Sinatra and Ermenigildo "Jilly" Rizzo, singer/show business legend and Sinatra's pal/aide and New York City club owner, respectively. Rizzo hired Alexander to be the house pianist for Jilly's Saloon, a notorious hang-out for show biz types, jazz musicians, and assorted other hip clientele. Not only did he accompany Sinatra when he performed at Jilly's, but Alexander met a jazz legend there that became both a friend and employer, vibes master Milt Jackson (of the Modern Jazz Quartet, who had a parallel solo career). Other singers Alexander has shone behind include Mary Stallings, Ernestine Anderson, Natalie Cole (who asked Alexander to accompany her on her tribute album to her father Unforgettable), Tony Bennett, and Bobby McFerrin. Furthermore, he played with ace of the bass Ray Brown and trumpet titans Dizzy Gillespie and Clark Terry. From the 1970s on, Alexander took the jazz world by storm with a series of internationally well-received albums on the European MPS and American Concord and Telarc labels.

Monty Alexander's distinctive sound emanates from two sources—firstly, he's infused the inspiration of iconic pianists Oscar Peterson, Nat "King" Cole, Ahmad Jamal, and Errol Garner with Jamaican sounds past and present. Secondly, and perhaps most crucially, Alexander indubitably loves what he is doing and he communicates that to listeners in an engaging, infectious manner. Talk about having one's cake and eating it too—Alexander has mastered that concept for the best of both worlds. "I play for me but I also play for the audience…I am even more satisfied when I make people happy." Alexander has no truck with elitist "artistic" notions—while he doesn't pander to listeners, he doesn't place himself "above" them either. "Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong—these artists reached out to the audience." Alexander's latest for Jazz Legacy Productions, Uplift 2—a sequel of sorts to 2011's Uplift—virtually epitomizes his philosophy and approach to jazz gloriously. Reunited with bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton—with whom he made some of his very best trio recordings in the mid-1970s—Uplift 2 bursts out of the gate with two tunes that, in lesser hands, might come off as corny or clichéd—"Battle Hymn (of the Republic)" and "When the Saints Go Marching In." But to Alexander, this "familiarity" presents an opportunity he relishes. "I like to take old wine and put it into new bottles," he says. "It's not so much the song, but what you do with it." Alexander's trio takes these warhorses and renders them with impishly affectionate humor, invention, and gregarious swing. Clayton and Hamilton are the thunder and wind to Alexander's summertime cloudburst. When asked about the chemistry of this configuration of musicians from long ago—every so often we'd get together"—Alexander affirmed, "We just clicked from the get-go."
Which is not to sleight Alexander's "other" trio on this set, Hassan Shakur on bass and Frits Landesbergen on drums. After a tantalizingly angular intro, this Alexander trio swings the standard "St. Thomas" like it was both the first time and maybe the last time they'd have at it—it's jovial and assertive, breezy and volatile. Ahmad Jamal's "Night Mist Blues" is a panorama—deep noir mood, rippling piano (echoes of McCoy Tyner?), richly pensive blues feeling, Dave Brubeck-like urbanity, restless but almost celebratory reminiscence, and Shakur and Landesbergen support and stimulate like nobody's business.

"At the end of the day," Alexander says, "it's about touching somebody's heart." Uplift 2 succeeds in that spectacularly, while it also takes up residence in the mind (including that region that controls the tapping of your foot). Without fanfare or pretense, Monty Alexander continues to celebrate the aspects of directness and delight in jazz. "It's a joy and a privilege to come out of the gate and get to the point!," says Alexander. Need proof? Listen, learn, and love.

Bookmark and Share

back | top



MusicDish Advertising Network

Mi2N Music PR

The Inspiration Behind The Versions Of "Santa Baby" Remakes... Hint, Never Marilyn Monroe!

China Arts Foundation International 2015 New Year's Concert

EVENTIDE UPDATES TIMEFACTOR WITH NEW LOOPER

The New Black 7 Release "God Willin' And The Creek Don't Rise" EP

Indie Act Automatik Eden Garner Rave Reviews For Both EP And Video With Their New Release "Gold To Straw"

Luna Sopor Releases Second Album - Cobalt - Rock

EVENTIDE ANNOUNCES H9 MAX

Darrell Cole's "Swahili" Fights Negative African Stereotypes



MusicDish*China Song Blast
Promote Your Music Single In China

News Headlines
Mi2N EDITOR'S PICKS
» Ole Receives Indie Publisher Of The Year Award From AIMP
» EVENTIDE UPDATES TIMEFACTOR WITH NEW LOOPER
» [PIAS] Agrees Deal With Ipecac Recordings
» Award-Winning Documentary Film Featuring Top Drum And Bugle Corps Presents Unique Fundraising Opportunity
» Discover Underground Music On Skunk Radio Live
» ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento Announces Retirement
» Digital Musical Holiday Cards Are All The Rage, And Live365 Has The Solution
» China Arts Foundation International 2015 New Year's Concert
» MATCHSTICKMEN STAND UP TO BULLYING WITH CHARITY SINGLE
» John Fogerty Statement About Current Lawsuit


Get your music news covered...
Have your press release written
by the pros at Mi2N

Articles
MUSICDISH E-JOURNAL
» BMG Signs Worldwide Rights Management Deal With Chinese Music Company Giant Jump
» CMA Gives Snapshot Into Music Discovery Behavior
» How To Manage Your Talent: FIVE Realistic Tips For Success
» Executive Wach: Villanova University School Of Law, Mozart's Estates Theatre, Universal Music Publishing Group, Music Group, HighVolMusic, New West Records
» PRS Guitars Amps Up 30 Years Of Manufacturing
» Spotify Overtakes ITunes In Europe For Kobalt
» Incisors Break Through The Dawn With Their Debut Album On Nov. 28
» The First Chinese Rock Exhibition Launched In Beijing
» CIAM Congress Meets In Nashville To Discuss Music Copyright In The Digital Age
» The Modern Musical Magi Of Beijing
» World's Most Influential Electronic Music Figureheads Head To Asia
» MOCAMIX: DJ Daniel Wang

Mi2N's Music PR distribution service guarantees online exposure for your press release. Choose from seven (7) different packages.


HOME | FREE NEWS SUBMISSION | PREMIUM PR DISTRIBUTION | PR COPYWRITING | RSS FEEDS | TESTIMONIALS | CONTACT

Sections: Band | Business | Career | Events | Label | Music Releases | Radio | Tech | Video | Web Events
Genres: Country/Folk | Dance/Electronica | Jazz/Blues | Latin | Rock | Urban | World
International: Asia | Canada | Europe

Advertise | Artist Development | Submit Video | MusicDish*China | MusicDish e-Journal | MusicDish Network | Urban Music News Network
Copyright © 1997-2014 MusicDish LLC, all rights reserved. Text, graphics, and HTML code are protected by US and International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without explicit permission.