Quando noi parliamo di genius siamo consci che questa parola può sicuramente assumere diversi significati a seconda dei personaggi a cui la asccostiamo. Nessuno di noi penso possa dubitare che possiamo usare tale attributo con musicisti del calibro di Art Tatum, Nat King Cole, Erroll Garner, Hank Jones sino a Oscar Peterson. Ciascuno di questi straordinari musicisti è riuscito a personalizzare la propria arte attraverso una ricerca che ha esaltato al massimo le proprie caratteristiche e potenzialita' creando nell'ascoltatore emozioni nuove, facendogli scoprire un mondo che era li ma che non si aveva gli occhi per vedere. Ecco, se noi ulilizziamo in tal senso la parola Genius allora è indiscusso che calzi perfettamente all'arte di Monty Alexander e il suo ultimo cd prodotto dalla Jazz Legacy non fa altro che confermalo.
Monty Alexander - piano
Hassan Shakur - bass
Herlin Riley - drums
Frits Landesbergen -drums
1. Come Fly With Me / 2. One Mint Julep 3. Renewal / 4. Sweet Georgia Brown / 5. I Just Cant See For Lookin’ / 6. Django / 7. Body and Soul / 8. Hope --- Medley --- 9. Home / 10. Fungii Mama
The words “genius”, “piano”, “virtuoso”, and “jazz” are very seldom used in the same sentence. Over the long history of jazz these four words have only consistently appeared together when discussing the work of Art Tatum, Nat King Cole, Erroll Garner, Hank Jones, and Oscar Peterson. You can argue the case for quite a few virtuoso jazz pianists of past and present, but when their body of work is compared side by side, you will always end up with the names of Tatum, Cole, Garner, Jones, and Peterson on top.
What you are about to listen to is the sixth artist whose name undoubtedly belongs next to the aforementioned legends. Like Mr. Garner, he does not read traditional music. Like Mr. Tatum, he displays a technique that is a once-in-a-lifetime wonder to behold. Like Mr. Cole, his musical taste and lyrical expression are second to no one alive. Like Mr. Jones, he possesses an exquisite touch. And like Mr. Peterson, his output of work (62 CDs as a leader) and his sense of drama, timing and swing can only be described as extraordinary, joyous, and incredibly moving. After one listen to this collection of live performances, you will quickly realize that these facts are undeniable—and that all men are NOT created equal. Some men are simply touched by a higher force as a great and profound gift for us all to savor.
In Hal Leonard’s 2005 book The Greatest Jazz Pianists of All Time, Mr. Alexander placed in the top five of all time. In his homeland of Jamaica, he received the highest honor bestowed upon an artist: Commander in the Order of Distinction, “for outstanding services to Jamaica as a worldwide music ambassador.”
He has spent the majority of his distinguished career traveling the globe, performing in the greatest concert halls on earth. Well known in more foreign countries than I can list here, the American jazz fan has not had as much occasion to witness his incredible mastery as they should have. But so many performance offers have constantly poured in from around the planet that we’ve had to share his great artistry with the rest of the world.
We can thank Frank Sinatra and his best friend Jilly Rizzo for hiring Monty after he moved to the United States in 1961 at the age of seventeen. It was at Jilly’s famed New York City nightclub that Monty caught the ears of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Milt “Bags” Jackson. It was Bags that introduced him to the great bassist Ray Brown, and the rest as they say, is history.
It has been an honor, blessing, and great privilege to call this man my dear friend for many years, and to produce this magnificent collection of music for the rest of the world to enjoy. I personally feel that this project is one of the finest I’ve ever been associated with.
I must say, in my very humble opinion, that this CD… is a masterpiece. Webster’s dictionary defines the word UPLIFT as a verb: to lift up, elevate, improve the spiritual, social, or intellectual condition.
That is Monty’s mission.
Prepare to take off.