Monty Alexander, piano, melodica; Handel Tucker, keyboards; Jay Davidson, saxophone; Steve Jankowski, trumpet; Robbie Shakespeare, bass; Sly Dunbar and Desmond Jones, drums.
In a field where unrecognizable themes and thundering, transcendental virtuosity have frequently become the norm, it,s refreshing to hear Monty Alexander step forward with a groove-oriented CD, featuring highly accessible original and classic tunes.
Throughout the session, harmonic grandstanding is avoided in favor of a strongly defined, danceable pulse. In "Monty's Groove," Alexander says more on a simple, C minor key center in five minutes than many flashier players do in fifty. The dance rhythms continue through the infectious Alexander original, "Do the Kool Step," a funky 12/8 blues in C, and the joyous, Reggae-based "Soulful Strut." Lee Morgan's classic groove tune, "The Sidewinder" is consistent with the composer's original design, anchored in a recurrent rhythmic phrase and E-flat tonality. Rhythm likewise becomes a primary structural element in Zawinul's gospel masterpiece, "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," and in Bobby Timmons, "Moanin'."
Alexander very effectively synthesizes several decades of Jazz history with this rhythmically cohesive session.
by James D. Armstrong, Jr.
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