Tuesday, March 29, 2011

STANDARDS REJUVENATED

"Come Fly with Me”, “One Mint Julep”, “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Body and Soul”. We’ve heard those old world standards before, right? But never the way pianist Monty Alexander handles them on his debut recording for the indie label Jazz Legacy Production.  Music producer John Lee and the pianist handpicked the tunes from some of his recorded live performances.  It's hard to discern "Uplift" is a cut and splice project. Alexander--the mirror image of the late be bop laureate Bud Powell--rejuvenates those timeless gems. Alexander has the disposition of a saloon pianist--in keeping with how he's defined his style the past four decades--on the disc’s shortest tune “Home”.  He blends Calypso and be bop on “Fungh Mama”. Drummer Herlin Riley is a big part of this disc. Long ago, Riley earned his journeyman credentials steering the prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Throughout the recording, Riley is on Alexander's tail like a highway patrol car. 
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