0 4 min 10 yrs

Monty Alexander

Monty Alexander is a musical pioneer that created his own world of sound that cannot be confined to one genre. The Harlem-Kingston Express Vol. 2: The River Rolls On is a swingy, poppy, jazzy, and funky delight of an album that can be enjoyed by a diverse group of audiophiles.

Most of the album is completely instrumental, but far from anything you’d hear in an elevator or waiting to speak to an actual person on the phone. Alexander does wonderful things with the piano, from the free and quick key work on “Concierto de Aranjuez” to the simple and mellow composition of “Trust.” In fact, it’s easy to imagine words being spoken on the expressive “The Harder They Come” because he is actually able to articulate emotion and enunciate what he is trying to convey a little better with the piano than with his voice.  “The River Rolls On” showcases his vocals alongside those of Caterina Zapponi, and it is just okay relative to the tracks where Alexander is allowed to focus on creating magic on the keys. His voice is fine, especially on “Love Notes,” but his skills as a musician surpass his skills as a vocalist. Monty is going to be 70 years old in June year and sounds spry on every song except for the title track.

Personally, my favorite song on this album is “Sleaky,” because it has a fun and easy flow that naturally puts a little spring in your step. You have to love a song that makes you happy without saying the word “happy” 80 times (I love you dearly, Pharrell, but enough is enough). Other standouts include the beautiful reinterpretations of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” and The Stylistics’ “People Make the World Go Round,” featuring a little melodica interlude. In addition to being a fantastic pianist, Alexander is an accomplished player of the melodica, which looks like a keyboard that you blow into and sounds like a less aggressive accordion. Hearing a Parisian twist on an R&B classic was a lovely surprise.

The last three of the 13 songs were performed live and were so much fun that I am truly looking forward to when Monty Alexander visits D.C. He will be at the Howard Theatre on Friday, June 13, and you should not pass up the opportunity to see and hear such a unique talent at close range. His music knows no geographical, racial or chronological boundary, but is consumed with a feeling: love. His love for music and for life is evident whether he is waxing sentimental about Jamaica or yodeling, and it is infectious. Get this album, because this is one express train you do not want to miss.

MORE INFO! www.montyalexander.com




About The Author

Leave a Reply