+ Hassan Shakur, Herlin Riley, Frits Landesbergen
Monty Alexander präsentiert mit Uplift! eine Sammlung seiner besten Liveaufnahmen der letzten beiden Jahre. Auf höchstem musikalischem Niveau groovt und swingt es, dass es eine wahre Freude ist. Komplettiert wird das Trio aus Hassan Shakur (bg) und Herlin Reley (dr) bzw. Frits Landesbergen (dr). Laut Hal Leonard´s Buch „Greatest Jazz Piano Players of all Time” zählt Monty zu den Top 5 der besten Jazzpianisten weltweit.
Mit Uplift! ist ihm jedenfalls ein echtes Meisterwerk gelungen!
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. (John Lee / jazzlegacyproductions. com)
,,Wie immer faszinierend bei Alexander ist, dass er die komplette Geschichte des Jazz-Pianos präsent hat und ad hoc seine Klavier-
Improvisationen mit Zitaten aus sämtlichen Jazz-Epochen anzureichern versteht, die so selbstverständlich klingen, als wären sie ihm im Moment
erst eingefallen." (Jazzthing, 04 / 05.2011)
,,Grundsolide swingendes Klaviertrio der alten Schule." (stereoplay, 05 / 2011)
,,Seine Läufe hüpfen, verdichten sich, ändern die Richtung, brechen ab, und dies alles mit enormem Drive - egal, ob sich der 67-Jährige für Swing, Reggae oder einen Calypso entschieden hat." (audio, 05 / 2011)
,,Nach einem swingenden, groovigen Parforceritt durch das ,,ReaI Book"
geht's mit Reggae und Calypso in die Zielgerade." (stereo, 06 / 2011)
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik: "Monty
Alexanders virtuoser Spielwitz zündet und seine
überschäumende Lebensfreude steckt an - der Titel
'Uplift' hält sein Versprechen." (Marcus A. Woelfle)