Monty Alexander

Maybeck Recital Hall Series, Vol. 40

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Monty has his own sound and identity when he chooses to pursue it, but here, in Vol. 40 of the Maybeck series, he remains mostly hidden behind the usual bop-and-standards conventions that have come to dominate these concerts. So we get the Tatum flourishes on "Close Enough for Love" and "Speak Low," a mildly introspective Evans-ish "Smile," etc. etc. However, a more individualistic Alexander does come through in spots, like his tune "The Serpent" -- a clever, running ostinato blues -- or the refreshing doo-wop triplets that open and occasionally recur in "For Sentimental Reasons." The most down-home performance per se is the Belafonte hit "Island in the Sun," awith its happy, authentic calypso rhythms and permutations of the theme; this is the first tune to indicate who this fellow is. Of course, Alexander is a fine technician, the piano sound is great, the audience is quite enthusiastic -- and thus, those who know what to expect at Maybeck will be satisfied customers.

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