Monty Alexander

Triple Scoop

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One might be led into believing that the title Triple Scoop refers to the players who comprise this trio: pianist Monty Alexander, bassist Ray Brown, and guitarist Herb Ellis. While this would be a reasonable guess, the "Triple" actually refers to the three titles -- Triple Treat, Triple Treat, Vol. 2, and Triple Treat, Vol. 3 -- recorded by this talented trio and included on this two-disc set. The first set comes from a 1982 studio session while the latter two originate from live sessions in 1988 and 1989, respectively. Disc one kicks off with the surprising "(Meet the) Flinstones," a three-minute romp that's at least as much fun as the cartoon, before settling into a lovely, six-minute version of "Body and Soul." The similar tones of Alexander's piano and Ellis' guitar offer a harmonic richness, while their light touch imbues pieces like "Lester Leaps In" with a breezy quality. Ever present, Brown's bass adds a resonate depth and becomes a prominent third voice. After track eight, the remainder of disc one and all of disc two are live, and except for the approval of an appreciative crowd, the only substantive difference is the addition of violinist Johnny Frigo to a number of cuts. On "Polkadots and Moonbeams" and "I'll Remember April" Frigo's violin adds another dimension to the band, giving the material a loose, open feel, similar to a live Stephane Grappelli album. Triple Scoop reassures jazz fans that when it comes to quality players and good material, little has changed.

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