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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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MONTY ALEXANDER

Concrete Jungle: The Music of Bob Marley

Telarc CD 83635

 

 


1. Africa Unite
2. Concrete Jungle
3. No More Trouble
4. War
5. Babylon System
6. Forever Lovin’ Jah
7. Crazy Baldheads
8. Chant Down Babylon
9. Simmer Down
10. Trench Town
11. Three Little Birds
12. Selam

Monty Alexander – Piano, melodica
Hassan Shakur – Bass
Herlin Riley – Drums
Othniel Lewis - Keyboard
Wendel Ferraro, Wayne Armond, Panchago Christian – Guitar, vocals
Glenroy Browne, Courtney Panton – Electric bass
Rolando Alphanso Wilson – Reggae drums
Loris Lawrence – Percussion
Delfeayo Marsalis - Trombone
Dean Fraser – Saxophone
Dwight Richards – Trumpet
Luciano – Vocals
Ural Gordon – Rumba box, vocals
Vincent Hines – Banjo, vocals

Born and bred in Jamaica but emigrating to the USA in his teens, Monty Alexander has been an important pioneer in blending jazz with Caribbean rhythms – especially reggae. Like his 1999 album, Stir It Up, this new CD is a tribute to Bob Marley, reggae’s most notable exponent. It was recorded at Marley’s own Tuff Gong studios in Kingston and includes American musicians as well as men who played with Marley.

The result is a stimulating mixture of styles, managing the difficult feat of merging jazz (with its predominant four-four rhythm) into reggae (with its emphasis on the third beat in the bar). Monty provides the main jazz voice, nowhere more so than on the opening track, Africa Unite, where the piano is set against a background of African-style guitars, heavy bass and reggae drums. The title-track is heightened by Luciano’s passionate vocal ("Where is the love to be found?"). Delfeayo Marsalis’s loping trombone is the main jazz ingredient in No More Trouble and Crazy Baldheads. Trench Town has a superb solo from Monty, who switches to melodica for Three Little Birds, which is in mento style featuring the banjo of Vincent Hines. The recording quality is good, rightly emphasising the bass and percussion, although this occasionally becomes oppressive.

This album contains a wondrously eclectic mixture conjured up by the incomparable magician, Monty Alexander.


Tony Augarde

 



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