Alexander the Great!: Monty Swings on MPS

Monty Alexander

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Alexander the Great!: Monty Swings on MPS Review

by Steve Leggett

Jamaican jazz pianist Monty Alexander often gets compared to the great Oscar Peterson, but he brings his own bold, Caribbean-informed sensibility to everything he plays, and he is far more than just a Peterson clone. This wonderful four-CD set collects six of the LPs he recorded for the German jazz label MPS [Most Perfect Sound] Records, 1971's Here Comes the Sun and We've Only Just Begun, 1973's Perception!, 1974's Unlimited Love, and 1976's Love and Sunshine and The Way It Is, several of which have been out of print for some time. Mixing in jazz standards with reconstructed pop tunes and calypso-flavored traditional island fare, Alexander shines throughout with his confident lines and joyous approach. Highlights include a breezy interpretation of George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun," the traditional Caribbean piece "Brown Skin Girl," his own grand "Monticello," and fine ballad renditions of Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday," but everything included is of a piece, making this both an excellent and necessary purchase for Alexander fans.

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