JazzTimes - p.52
"Alexander and company reinvent rhythm at every turn, turning swing into blues, blues to bop and bop to calypso, all the while saluting the wider canon of Western music."
Personnel: Monty Alexander (piano); Hassan Shakur (acoustic bass); Herlin Riley (drums).
Liner Note Author: John Lee .
Recording information: 2007-2010.
Editor: John Lee .
Photographer: Tom Haynes.
During his long career, pianist Monty Alexander excelled in trio settings, and he's primarily heard in this collection of live performances at various venues with two different groups, with these recordings all coming from his personal archives. Kicking off with an inspired, upbeat "Come Fly with Me" (forever associated with vocalist Frank Sinatra), Alexander seems in a jovial mood throughout most of the CD. He has a lot of fun with "Sweet Georgia Brown," opening with a bit of stride before shifting into a wild ride incorporating some Thelonious Monk-like dissonance, but in the typical uptempo setting favored by Oscar Peterson. His interpretation of John Lewis' "Django" retains its standard dramatic introduction; then he subtly swings it with a brief detour into "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," adding a bluesy air to it. At times, he inserts licks from a number of different songs … la Art Tatum or Dorothy Donegan, especially in the unusually hilarious setting of "Body and Soul." The closing medley begins with Alexander's sentimental ballad "Home," then segues into a lively, calypso-flavored performance of Blue Mitchell's "Fungii Mama." Alexander's Uplift is well-named, as these live recordings represent some of his best work from his half-century as a professional jazz pianist. ~ Ken Dryden