Monty AlexanderD-DayPEEWEE!

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An Incredible Experience of Freedom

June 6, 2024, will mark the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings. It’s also the day Monty Alexander turns 80. A highly symbolic historical concordance which the great musician naturally embraces, since the name he was given pays homage to General Montgomery, the famous liberator.

The album D-Day is the fruit of intertwining friendships and artistic collusion often observed between Monty Alexander, the French touring agency V.O Music, and the label PeeWee!

It contains a number of iconic compositions written in wartime and original tracks: *Sentimental Journey, a song written during the Second World War, released in 1944, that topped post-war hit parades. *Brazil, written in 1944, a joyful theme to celebrate victory.

*I’ll Never Smile Again, written in  1939, a  Frank Sinatra hit throughout the Second World War.

*Smile, written by Charlie Chaplin for his film Modern Times in 1936: “Smile, though your heart is aching, Smile, even though it’s breaking, When there are clouds in the sky, You’ll get  by.”

*D-Day (Just Wait), Why (that’s why), River of Peace, Restoration… are Alexander’s compositions inspired by the conflict and its extraordinary ending. On them he explores feelings triggered by this unique period, the heroism of the combatants, hope for a fresh beginning, renewed trust in other people and the sense of sacrifice.

Recorded for the most part at Studio Sextan in October 2023, D-Day captures the quintessence of two long sessions. We hear an Alexander more introspective than usual, sure of the time needed to reach the right note, the one that only comes with a feeling of self-assurance.

With the brilliant young Luke Sellick and Jason Brown, his current rhythm section, he has found partners in unison, in total fusion, with his harmonic and rhythmic digressions, always spiked with the intoxicating beat of reggae and the contagious sway of swing.

More than ever before, Monty Alexander plays spontaneously “by ear”; and that is truly the privilege of certain great ears who are able to attain a total freedom of expression.

Monty Alexander bio:

Born on June 6, 1944, he belongs to a generation of modern jazz piano heroes. From  a multicultural, multi-ethnic universe, somewhere between jazz and reggae, he’s a true champion of the Great American Song Book and the world’s finest avatar of Jamaican jazz.

His music combines the rhythms of his native Caribbean land with North-American harmonies and forms. At 16, he was already expert in all the dance musics of the day: cha-cha, merengue, calypso…

“It was music with a beat, and depending how you attack the rhythm, how fierce the rhythm would get and people would want to dance and people would clap their hands and everything. The music came up with that certain identifiably a Jamaican accent or rhythm the way people talk walk or drive,” he remembers.

Exposed to all types of music at dances, he also devloped a passion for rhythm’n’blues as well as for Nat King Cole or the inventors of bebop, which he heard on the radio and sought to play be ear.

He also took part in the early days of ska in the Kingston studios that arranged his first engagements.

At 17, he moved to the United States, where he didn’t take long to be noticed by a certain Frank Sinatra, who eased his rip-roaring entry into the big league of jazzmen of the day.

He accompanied the great figures of be-bop : Milt Jackson, Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Griffin, Benny Golson. He carries on the tradition of the full orchestral swinging pianists started by Nat King Cole (in his turn influenced by Earl Fatha Hines), and continued on by Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Ahmad Jamal and Wynton Kelly.

From his earliest years in the USA (in the early 1960’s) Monty forged close friendships with Errol Garner, Oscar Peterson, Wynton Kelly and Ahmad Jamal.

He recorded for Pacific Jazz for the first time under his name at the age of 20. A supercharged album that introduced the world to the young prodigy. Critics spoke of “accessible jazz, joyous swing, effusive, without histrionics”.

These early years left Alexander with an indelible impression of a wide open window onto an eclectic world. Armed with an intransigent spirit, a total commitment to his art and incredible musical intuition, he has since developed an instantly recognizable style.

As for many jazz giants, Europe in the sixties, seventies and eighties was a fundamental haven for Alexander and it was also where his international stature grew.

Europe loves Monty Alexander and he returns the sentiment. Montreux Alexander (MPS records 1976), an album that is now in the pantheon of jazz, is a vibrant testimony to this reciprocal attachment.

After a career spanning over 60 years, he’s still writing history today.

Monty Alexander – Piano

Luke Sellick – Bass

Jason Brown – Drums


Upcoming Performances

  •         April 3: Press conference for D-Day – Paris location: TBC
  •         April 7: Cully Jazz Festival (Cully, Switzerland)
  •         April 8: KKL Concert Hall (Luzern, Switzerland)
  •         April 29/30: Blue Note Tokyo Monty special guest with Tokyo All Star Big Band (Japan)
  •         May 1/2: Blue Note Tokyo 80th birthday concerts, with Luke Sellick and Jason Brown (Japan)
  •         May 4: Blue Note Hawaii (HI)
  •         May 17: Puerto Rico Jazz Festival (PR)
  •         May 21-25: Bern Jazz Festival, Bern (Switzerland)
  •         May 28-June 1: Birdland Jazz, NYC
  •         June 6-9: Jazz Alley, Seattle (WA) –> HOLD
  •         June 7: South Florida, FL –> HOLD
  •         June 9: Kingston, Jamaica (W.I.) –> HOLD
  •         June 11: San Francisco Jazz Festival, San Francisco, CA
  •         June 14/15/16: Blues Alley, Washington (DC)
  •         June 21: Buelach (Switzerland)
  •         June 22 and 23: Thalwil (Switzerland)
  •         June 24-28: Ronnie Scott’s, London (UK)
  •         June 30: JazzBaltica – Hamburg (Germany)
  •         July 3: New Morning, Paris (France)
  •         July 6: Vitrolles Charlie Jazz Festival (Marseille, France)
  •         August 20: Nice Jazz Festival (France) (HOLD)
  •         August 30/Sept 1 : Detroit Jazz Festival (Detroit)
  •         September 6 and 7: Jazz Forum, Tarrytown (NY)
  •         October 4: Cagliari, Sardegna (Italy) (HOLD)
  •         October 11 and 12: Regattabar, Boston (MA) (HOLD)
  •         October 19: Koerner Hall – Toronto (Canada)
  •         November 16: Segerstrom Hall Costa Mesa (CA)
  •         November 22: Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall – Istanbul (Turkey)
  •         November 25: Victoria Hall, Geneva (Switzerland)
  •         November 30: Annecy Bonlieu Scene Nationale (France)
  •         January 24 and 25, 2025: Jazz at Lincoln Center Rose Hall, NY