Fifty-five years after he moved to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica, his hometown, pianist Monty Alexander is an American classic, touring the world relentlessly with various projects, delighting a global audience drawn to his vibrant personality and soulful message. His spirited conception is one informed by the timeless verities: endless melody-making, effervescent grooves, sophisticated voicings, a romantic spirit, and a consistent predisposition, as Alexander accurately states, “to build up the heat and kick up a storm.”
In the course of any given performance, Alexander applies those aesthetics to repertoire spanning a broad range of jazz and Jamaican musical expression – the American songbook and the blues, gospel and bebop, calypso and reggae. Like his ‘eternal inspiration’, Erroll Garner, Alexander – cited as the fifth greatest jazz pianist ever in The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of All Time (Hal Leonard Publishing) and mentioned in Robert Doerschuk’s 88: The Giants of Jazz Piano – gives the hardcore-jazz-obsessed much to dig into while also communicating the message to the squarest ‘civilian’.
He performs tonight with his trio; JJ Shakur on bass and Jason Brown on drums.
Support comes from Tomorrow’s Warriors Female Frontline, one of a handful of flagship ensembles to be produced by Tomorrow’s Warriors, the organisation credited with developing some of the most exciting jazz artists and bands in the UK – Denys Baptiste, Soweto Kinch, Zara McFarlane, Nubya Garcia, and Gary Crosby’s Nu Troop, Empirical, Binker & Moses, and Nerija. Their Female Frontline band embodies the Warrior spirit in more than just serious musical talent and looks set to expose yet another generation of fantastic jazz artists to eagerly awaiting audiences. Led by alto saxophonist, Aleksandra Topczewska under the tutelage of internationally acclaimed double bassist and bandleader Gary Crosby OBE, the band features a host of excellent musicians delivering a set of upbeat jazz standards, funky grooves and a contemporary take on some well-known classics.