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4 STARS ALL MUSIC GUIDE
"Uplift, a collection of live recordings taken from assorted concerts between 2007 and 2010, isn't one of those tribute or stylistic exercise records he likes to make from time to time, and which are usually enjoyable excursions. Rather, it's straight up acoustic piano trio jazz containing a healthy mixture of standards and originals, which remains the best way to fully appreciate what a phenomenal player Mr. Alexander truly is. Joining Alexander are Hassan Shakur on bass and either Herlin Riley or Frits Landesbergen on drums. These aren't household names, but they know well how to bolster the leader without competing for attention." - Victor Aaron, All About Jazz
01. Come Fly With Me
02. One Mint Julep
04. Sweet Georgia Brown
05. I Just Cant See For Lookin’
07. Body and Soul
08. Hope --- Medley ---
10. Fungii Mama
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.