News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Sept. 18, 2014: The line outside Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City rolled around the corner to the bank of elevators.
They had all gathered to catch the opening night show of a man who has been a one-man brand ambassador for the Caribbean on the jazz music scene globally for the past five decades. But Wednesday night was extra special, for it marked the first time that Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola was featuring “Jazz around the West Indies” with the Caribbean’s own Grammy nominee and Commander in the Order of Distinction, Jamaica’s virtuoso, Monty Alexander.
And Alexander and his award-winning group, the Harlem Kingston Express, did not disappoint the full house. From their entrance it was clear the Caribbean was ‘in the house,’ as they gave the fans who had quickly filled up the Club, a regional music education.
Even those who had no idea of the songs – including pieces like the historical folk song, ‘Sly Mongoose,’ and ‘Brown Skin Girl,’ were quickly entranced and led by the Caribbean rhythms that the maestro and his orchestra strummed out, much like a piped piper.
From folk rhythms to reggae, ska, rock and the more classic, thrilled jazz fans clapped and rocked at the pure sounds of the music of a region many there had only vacationed in, while non-jazz lovers suddenly became fans and awed believers in a genre they had only moments before shrugged their shoulders and turned up their noses. By the time the set closed just over an hour later with the classic ‘No Woman, No Cry,’ all agreed Alexander was indeed the ‘star’ of “Jazz around the West Indies.”
And so for the umpteenth time, Alexander’s reputation as the Caribbean man bridging the worlds of American jazz, popular song, and the music of his native Jamaica, was reinforced and his place in history written alongside the greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra, Ray Brown, Natalie Cole and Tony Bennett whom he has shared the stage with over the years.
Mission accomplished yet again!
Alexander and the Harlem Kingston Express will continue their week-long show at Dizzy’s through September 21st. Reservations for the historic show at Broadway and 60th Street on the 5th Floor in Manhattan can be obtained here or by logging on directly to https://dizzys.jalc.org/index.php?option=com_dizzyclub&view=performances&event_id=12895. Show times nightly are 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. For bookings call 212-258-9595. Tickets are $40 nightly and $45 for the Saturday night performance.