Monty Alexander - Uplift
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Monty Alexander
Jazz Legacy Productions (

I remember reading in some cookbook that it's easy to create consistently great meals. The secret is to buy the best ingredients you can afford, and then don't ruin them!

That's the outlook Monty Alexander always brings to his recordings, and his latest release, Uplift, follows the pattern. The tunes here are mostly jazz standards - "Come Fly With Me," "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Django," "Body and Soul." Alexander plays piano with outstanding technique, a respect for jazz traditions, and just enough tongue-in-cheek humor to bring about smiles, as when he quotes the theme song from "The Flintstones" during one of his solos.

His trio here consists of solid session players. Hassan Shakur plays a steady bass, providing a solid underpinning for Alexander's exuberance. Herlin Riley and Frits Landesbergen trade off on drum duties. Riley's chops are well-known and well-appreciated in jazz circles, and Landesbergen, who comes from The Netherlands, brings a refreshing musicality.

These are great tunes, very well performed by top-notch players, and together these ingredients make for a thoroughly enjoyable and, as the title suggests, an uplifting listening experience. - Greg Harness

You can hear some excerpts from the CD online.

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