Three years on from Monty Alexander’s earlier jazz-reggae album in this invigorating Motéma staging post of the Jamaican-American’s long and distinguished career, the great jazz pianist, who sits within the Oscar Peterson tradition in the pole position globally, and who turns 70 in June switches from live to the studio mostly here although some tracks were recorded live in Jamaica, New York and in France. Ramsey Lewis, George Benson and Joe Sample guest, quite a triumvirate, on the touching ‘Love Notes’ a track Monty has co-written with Brian Jobson and on which Monty also sings. Fusing the musical traditions of Jamaica, rocksteady and reggae high among them, within mainstream jazz piano traditions has been an enduring preoccupation of Alexander’s for years and remains so here honed in one of its most sophisticated distillations to date. With a big input of Philly and Detroit soul folded in, the inclusion of ‘People Make the World Go Round’ works wonders and a Jamaicanised ‘What’s Going On (Wa’a Gwan)’ particularly, there’s a feelgood-all-over sort of glow that’s so clear Mr A joined at various points by among others stalwart double bassist Hassan Shakur, drummers Obed Calvaire, Karl Wright, and Frits Landesbergen, electric bassists Joshua Thomas and Courtney Panton (the latter also doubling percussion), guitarists Yotam Silberstein and Andy Bassford, vocalist Wendel Ferraro, and keyboardist Earl Appleton. Monty’s wife Caterina Zapponi sings on the title track, in a duet with Monty.
Released on Monday 28 April
Monty Alexander, above, (photo: Motéma) plays Ronnie Scott's, London with his trio on 16-17 June
- Category: Reviews
- Published: Thu 24th Apr 2014 10:09:41