Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Monty Alexander 7 - Jamento (Pablo - 2310 826)

Having just been at the concert of Ernest Ranglin last month, I was bound to buy a record of him. After some searching and finding excessively priced records, I deepened my search and found 2 great albums with one being in question here. Believe me it's not easy at all to find records of this calibre, but honestly when two giants like Monty and Ernest collaborate, this beautiful outcome is very natural.

Ernest is the older of the two with a 12 years advantage. He is undoubtedly the most prominent guitarist Jamaica has produced and he deserves all the credit that's due him. I've watched the man aged 79 playing 15 meters in front of me and I was standing in awe. Of course he slowed down in his finger picking style, this and that, but how many of us will live to see 79 and more than that how many of us will be in such a state. I hope we all can, yet that's not how life goes.

Monty is the most talented pianist of Jamaica and his CV as well as his fame shows this. His unique style of jamming Dub and Reggae into Jazz has been an inspiration to tons of people and has been a huge entertainment value to millions including myself. I learned about him while I was searching Jazz pianists who have opened new areas of development to the genre and inevitably his name came up. Naturally there were the Ellingtons, Monks, and here was the Monty.

The album was originally released from Fantasy records as they were among the most passionate followers of the new sounds in Jazz at those days. Later ECM got he better of them in this sense and this is a totally different story so I'll just pass on through. The record I've bought was released by Pablo. The music itself is as good as it gets. First you get the feeling of Jazz standards in the case of the Big Band Era and somewhere along the way start Jamaica (Island as they say it) rhythms and sounds. "Slippery" which is A2 can be named as the best example you can ever get your hands on. You bump into Dub, you bump into native percussions while all along the way Jazz shows it's presence with all it's might. However, apart they have totally different natures. When together, it feels like there is a time bomb standing by your side. You can listen "Slippery" here via MySpace.

The fastness of the rhythm is alluring almost in all the tracks. There are 6 in all which 4 were written by Monty himself. There is one George Benson and one Richard Evans title as well. In all but one there are solos of Ernest Ranglin. All of them feature either one or more solos by Monty which are absolutely inspiring.

Honestly now coming to think about it, Ernest should have toured with Monty again. It shouldn't be that hard. I mean after they reunited in 2004 to create a new album called Rocksteady, they toured briefly. Why not again? However, one side note should be that the pianist Ernest is touring with is a guy called Alex Wilson. He can be a name to watch out for the future. Of course I was not expecting and he was not truly promising to give a Monty show out there, but he really gave all he could. It might just be the second best we could have listened. But on this record, you get to listen to both the giants hand in hand giving out all the energy they can.

To buy this record:

@ Discogs
@ Music Stack
@ Ebay

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