Monty Alexander

Love & Sunshine

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Monty Alexander is in top form in this 1974 studio session made for MPS, joined by guitarist Ernest Ranglin, bassist Eberhard Weber, and drummer Kenny Clare. His wailing interpretation of Milt Jackson's "S.K.J." could easily be mistaken for Oscar Peterson. But Alexander is hardly a Peterson clone, as his haunting and spacious arrangement of "Summer of '42" would likely stump many so-called experts in a blindfold test. The quartet's romp through "Now's the Time" showcases Ranglin's fluid solo first before the leader takes charge with a blistering one of his own. Alexander was hardly the first jazz musician to discover the possibilities within Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," but he makes the most of them in a trio setting omitting the guitarist. Following a shimmering solo introduction, he gives it a calypso flavor. He even makes something out of the lightweight pop tune "Feel Like Making Love," the hallmark of a great jazz musician. The pianist even toys with a bit of boogie-woogie within his introduction to the upbeat treatment of "On a Clear Day." This well-recorded date includes enthusiastic applause from producer Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer's invited guests that never interferes with the performances themselves. This terrific album is long overdue to be reissued on CD.

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