Monty Alexander: Celebrated jazz musician

Jamaican jazz pianist Monty Alexander celebrates 50 years on the music scene this year.

The internationally- celebrated musician continues to wow his fan base, winning new audiences worldwide with his distinct reggae-infused jazz style.

This year, Monty embarks on a worldwind anniversary tour that takes him from intimate jazz clubs and concert halls to international jazz festivals.

His recently released album, Uplift, enjoyed the coveted No.1 spot on America’s Jazz radio. A Jazz Legacy Productions album, Uplift consists of cleverly produced standards hailed as works of technical and masterful prowess tinged with Monty’s emotive expressions.

On its heels, is another album with a “Jamaican vibration” featuring the Kingston-Harlem Express on record label Motema, which Monty describes a “free flow experience, clearly defined by inspiration and reflection of Jamaican heritage incorporated with the musical style likened to that of jazz legend, Miles Davis.”

In the event you have missed the virtuosity of this jazz music legend with the rendering of old favorites: standards and melodies of the swing and bebop era to his authentic ska-reggae influenced jazz style, Monty is set to perform in New York City starting June 15, at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club, with the return of Monty and the Harlem-Kingston Express.

“When one thinks of Jamaican music, automatically reggae comes to mind,” said John Lynch, Jamaica’s director of tourism. “Jamaica has produced many leaders in diverse fields such as food, culture and entertainment, and music continues to be a field where our country excels.

“We are proud of Monty Alexander’s place in the category of world-class jazz pianists, and we are proud to share this aspect of our culture with the world,” Lynch added.

In August, 2000 Monty was honored by the government of Jamaica with the Order of Distinction medal for outstanding services to the country and as a worldwide music ambassador.

The Kingston native will forever be etched in the annals of jazz music history as one of the greatest pianists of all times.

Having had the introduction to the world stage by the legendary Frank Sinatra, Monty has performed with other legends, including: Tony Bennett, Bill Cosby, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Ernest Ranglin, Barbara Hendricks, Bobby McFerrin, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, and on Bob Marley’s “Concrete Jungle” collection.

Whatever your fancy, be it jazz standards, free-flow reggae-infused jazz, Monty has mastered the art-form and continues to be a crowd pleaser. He now sets his sights on a musical tour to the unfettered territories of Africa and Asia and will produce a third album to culminate his 50th-year celebration.

Monty discovered the piano at age four and took clasical music at age six.

He began flirting with jazz piano music at age 14 and playing at recording sessions and at bars and clubs with Clue J and his Blues Blasters.

From there, he directed Monty and the Cyclones and played at local gigs.

However, it was his move to Florida in 1961 and subsequently to New York in 1962 that gave Monty the opportunity to work at Club Jillys, where he caught the eye of music legend Frank Sinatra, that gave the burgeoning musician the break of a lifetime that spurned his meteoric rise to jazz’s international stage.

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