Jazz fans will
be familiar with the recordings
of Monty Alexander - mainly in the
trio environment and especially
with Milt Jackson and Ray Brown.
Throughout his career however he
has never discarded the music of
his native Jamaica that was his
initial inspiration. ‘Rocksteady’
is a visitation back to those
roots. He is accompanied by reggae
guitarist Ernest Ranglin who recorded
side by side with him in the heyday
of Jamaica’s ska music in the late
1960s and early 70s. The album is
released to coincide with Alexander’s
2004 tour giving fans of the ska
movement, past and present, the
opportunity to relive the magic
of the music.
There are various
well known groups associated with
the selected titles – the Skatellites’
Congos’ "Fisherman Row,"
the "Heptones", "Fatty
Fatty," Desmond Dekker’s
Ken Booth’s "Freedom Street."
As the accompanying notes say, ‘Another
Jamaican icon, Burning Spear, is
represented by his tribute to Jamaica’s
national hero, "Marcus
Garvey." The album closes
with Bob Marley’s "Redemption"
of which Monty says, ‘At the end
of all this fun, this is something
serious. We threw in this one from
another era in respect to Bob.’
He rightly feels Marley to be Jamaica’s
greatest hero and prophet – the
man who was responsible for putting
Jamaican music on a worldwide footing.
The issue of
this CD is also significant as it
coincides with the recent death
of Clement ‘Sir Coxone’ Dodd’s.
Dodd’s was credited with the launching
of Bob Marley’s career and he also
made a valuable contribution to
the development of Jamaican music
of this album is not in doubt. The
quality of musicianship is first-class
and will achieve Alexander’s prime
musical objective, whether the style
be reggae, jazz or soul, small combo
or symphony, to ‘express the joy
of music to all within earshot,
regardless of prevailing differences
in taste or culture.’