Monty Alexander


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"It would be an over-simplification to characterize the group you are about to hear (or are perhaps now hearing) simply as the old Oscar Peterson Trio with Monty Alexander replacing the leader," writes Leonard Feather in his liner notes to this album, after acknowledging that both bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis used to be part of the Peterson group. He's right, of course, but it also would be incorrect to say there isn't at least a feel of that earlier drum-less ensemble in this one. The chief difference, of course, is that the Jamaica-born Alexander is not Peterson; although less of his rhythmic flair is on display here than on other dates, he has his own personality, and it is far showier than Peterson's. A second major difference is that Peterson was the leader of his trio and, as Feather also points out, "this is essentially a three-way partnership" in which each member gets to contribute more or less equally. The selections are a mixture of standards, most of them typical jazz springboards (though the 1940s pop hit "To Each His Own" seems to be new to the medium) with a Brown original and showcase, "Blues for Junior," and another original, "Captain Bill," that contains associations with Count Basie. Whether playing fast or slow, the three musicians interact well together, the younger Alexander holding his own with his veteran partners.

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