Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

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Word on the best of the week in our latest podcast drop a line to stephen@marlbank.net

Published: 2 Jun 2024. Updated: 48 days.

Word on the best of the week in our latest podcast

  • drop a line to stephen@marlbank.net

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Monty Alexander, D Day, Pee Wee ****

Piano icon Monty Alexander's best album since the super enjoyable Rocksteady with Ernest Ranglin 20 years ago and one of the best albums of the year to date - serious, heartfelt yet also full of a lot of a swinging Caribbean spirit and wherewithal …

Published: 2 Jun 2024. Updated: 28 days.

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Piano icon Monty Alexander's best album since the super enjoyable Rocksteady with Ernest Ranglin 20 years ago and one of the best albums of the year to date - serious, heartfelt yet also full of a lot of a swinging Caribbean spirit and wherewithal - namechecking ''Mr Belafonte'' along the way on 'Day O' with Parisian audience participation captures this latter joyous aspect always present at a Monty concert best, the jazz Jamaican whipping out the melodica an instrument beloved of rocksteady pioneer Augustus Pablo. Turning 80 on yes Thursday - D-Day - a momentous day in world history when the price of failure in 1944 would have been hell on earth subjugation to the Nazis - the pianist tune selections here include a version of 1939's 'I’ll Never Smile Again,' and yin to the yang the inclusion of Charlie Chaplin classic 'Smile' that seems more than apt all ambivalence bearing in mind its bittersweet mood set aside as the album recalls a time when a smile was all that routed and ruined Europeans after years of war had left. Monty tunes 'Aggression,' 'Oh Why,' 'Restoration,' 'June 6,' and best of all the evanescent 'River of Piece' taken together are some of his best thematically conceived compositions in a long career. Not an angry album but instead full of tendresse Monty moved to the United States when he was 17 and became a favourite of Frank Sinatra's going on to play with jazz legends such as Milt Jackson, Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Griffin and Benny Golson. D-Day pares things back and has US bassist Luke Sellick and London based US drummer Jason Brown.

  • Luke and Jason join Monty on his return to Ronnie Scott's on 24 June for a 5-night run