News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. June 2, 2016: Legendary piano master and Jamaica’s Commander Of Distinction, Monty Alexander, along with the magnificent and expanded version of the Harlem Kingston Express (HKE) band, will lead a celebration of National Caribbean American Heritage Month from tonight, June 1st at a premier New York City jazz location. Here are ten things you should know about this performance:
1: Alexander and the HKE band will return to Dizzy’s Jazz Club Coca Cola @ Jazz at Lincoln Center from tonight, Wednesday, June 1st through Sunday, June 5th in what is being billed as an energetic show that will blend the musical genre of classical jazz and the rhythms of the Caribbean seamlessly.
2: The Jamaican-born musician, whose performances the Wall Street Journal describes as ‘an outrageously good time,’ “will be telling stories of his own and Jamaica’s musical history, with special guests throughout the week.”
3: Alexander will be joined by top musicians and guests throughout the week including:
Hassan Shakur – the acoustic bassist who learned to play bass at age four through the guidance of his father, pianist Gerald Wiggins, Sr. and still plays for the Duke Ellington Orchestra which the joined at age 18.
Dan Wilson – the jazz guitarist who has toured with three-time Grammy nominated jazz organ legend, Joey DeFrancesco and released his debut album, ‘To Whom It May Concern’ in 2012.
Obed Calvaire – the Haitian-roots drummer who has performed and recorded with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Seal, Eddie Palmeri, Vanessa Williams and Mary J. Bilge among others.
Andrae Murchison – one of the most versatile and talented trombonist of his generation who has performed on The Letterman Show and at numerous festivals, concert halls, and venues worldwide.
Clark Gayton – a composer, trombone and tuba player and band leader who has played with some of the finest jazz musicians in the world, such as Charles Tolliver, Lionel Hampton, McCoy Tyner, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Mingus Big Band, Ted Nash and Odeon, Ben Allison and Medicine Wheel, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra Nancy Wilson, and Ray Charles and who is also the founder of the Ritual, Ltd. label and Lautir Publishing.
Popular Jamaican drummer and percussionist Karl Wright
Electric bass player Joshua Thomas
Electric keyboard player Earl Appleton
Award-winning Guitarist Andy Bassford
Wendel Ferraro – the Montego-Bay, Jamaica born jazz singer who also goes by the name. ‘Jr. Jazz,’ and singer of ‘Love Is Waiting There,’ which was heavily promoted through black music video channels and who recently released recordings with Ikronik, now available on iTunes.
And Duane Stephenson – the Kingston-born Jamaican reggae singer whose album ‘From August Town,’ released in 2007, was included in Billboard’s “Six Essential Albums Heralding Roots Rock’s Resurgence and whose song “Rasta For I” became a favorite. Stephenson, whose third album ‘Dangerously Roots: Journey from August Town,’ was released in September 2014, will perform on June 4th and 5th.
4: Show times nightly at Dizzy’s Jazz Club Coca Cola are 7:30 P.M. and 9:30 P.M. EST. To make reservations log on here or directly to https://www.jazz.org/dizzys/events/168391/monty_alexander/ or reserve by phone
5: Alexander was born on D-Day, June 6, 1944 and was playing Christmas carols by ear at 4, entertaining neighbors and relatives by 5 and taking his first piano lessons at 6.
6: Fifty-five years after he moved to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica, home town pianist Alexander is an American classic, touring the world relentlessly with various projects and delighting a global audience drawn to his vibrant personality and soulful message.
7: 2016 will mark the seventh edition of the namesake ‘Monty Alexander Jazz Festival’ in Easton, Maryland, for which he has served as Artistic Director and perennial performer every Labor Day weekend since 2010.
8: Alexander’s spirited conception is one informed by the timeless verities: endless melody-making, effervescent grooves, sophisticated voicings, a romantic spirit, and a consistent predisposition, as Alexander accurately states, “to build up the heat and kick up a storm.” In the course of any given performance, Alexander applies those aesthetics to repertoire spanning a broad range of jazz and Jamaican musical expression – the American songbook and the blues, gospel and bebop, calypso and reggae. Like his “eternal inspiration,” Erroll Garner, Alexander—cited as the fifth greatest jazz pianist ever in The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of All Time (Hal Leonard Publishing) and mentioned in Robert Doerschuk’s 88: The Giants of Jazz Piano—gives the hardcore-jazz-obsessed much to dig into while also communicating the message to the squarest “civilian.”
9: With more than 70 recordings under his belt, Alexander has performed and recorded with artists from every corner of the musical universe and entertainment world: Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Bobby McFerrin, and many more. In August 2000, the Jamaican government designated Alexander Commander in the Order of Distinction for outstanding services to Jamaica as a worldwide music ambassador. In 2015, the great modern pianist Donald Vega released With Respect To Monty, which included his interpretations of seven Alexander compositions.
10: For more on the Caribbean’s greatest jazz pianist and his music visit him on YouTube or at montyalexander.com. You can also like him on Facebook at facebook.com/officialmontyalexander or keep up to date on his performance on Twitter at @montyHKE.