- Blue Rhapsody
- En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor
- Come Sunday / David Danced
- Creole Love Call
- Pointe-A- Pitre
- Jumpin’ at Capitol
- It’s Only a Paper Moon
- Body and Soul
- I’m an Old Cowhand
Monty Alexander – piano
Hassan Shakur – bass
Mark Taylor – drums
Recorded in New York in December 2002
Monty Alexander is one of the very top flight of
pianists in the jazz world, having reached this position by paying
his dues working with many of the ‘Greats of jazz’ and probably most
importantly, with the Ray Brown trio.
His trio on this record is superb, both Hassan Shakur
on bass and Mark Taylor on drums, knit together with the leader, to
create wonderful improvisations whatever the theme. Just how far the
experience of playing with Ray Brown influenced Monty’s choice of
sidemen I don’t know, but this is one of the most notable trios I
have ever heard. The balance between the instruments is perfect, as
is the timing of every note played. I have admired Monty’s playing
for many years, but this has to be his definitive album.
Tracks one and two come from George Gershwin and
Rodrigo, but both are moulded into pure Alexander by the end of the
performance: but without ever getting so far from the original as
to make them unrecognisable. Similarly with Duke Ellington’s compositions
on tracks 3 and 4.
Monty comes originally from Jamaica and tracks 5,
6 and 7 are Alexander originals dedicated to Jamaica, Guadeloupe and
the Bahamas respectively. Having had the fortune to visit each of
these marvellous islands, I can feel where he is coming from, each
is an attractive composition and the trio plays the improvisations,
which follow, with great feeling.
Tracks 8, 9, and 10 have the benefit of the addition
of John Pizzarelli on guitar, and as they are dedicated to the playing
Nat ‘King’ Cole, who could be better.
Monty says that Nat was one of his earliest influences,
I like his description of Nat as, "The hottest and coolest piano
player all at one time". The final of these tracks Body &
Soul is a classic rendition of one of the greatest jazz standards
of all time, a tune that it is impossible to exhaust in terms of harmonic
The closing track ‘Way Out West’ has been a favourite
of many ‘jazzers’ over the
years, particularly Sonny Rollins, who played it
for the whole of the first half on one of his appearances I attended.
Hassan Shakur and MarkTaylor are both featured to good effect on this
Listening to this CD was 62 minutes and 39 seconds
of pure enjoyment and I intend to listen to it many times more, without
being at a computer keyboard!