Asta Andrė
www.kamane.lt, 2010-12-06

M.Alexander's moves reminded of a dance on the stage

The pianist was accompanied by the double-bassist L.Cohen and drummer F.Landesberger. Photo of M.Kulbys

In brief: The international jazz festival Kaunas Jazz ended the jubilee year at Vilnius Congress Concert Hall on the 3rd of December and in this way continued the tradition of festive concerts in the capital city started in 2002.

The artists of these concerts shined like the most expensive gold all the time: Kaunas Jazz was the first to bring the US vocal jazz leaders Take 6 and The New York Voices, the saxophone virtuoso James Carter, exotic Cuban pianist Omara Sosa, trumpet player Arturo Sandoval, US jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves to Vilnius.

This year the audience of Vilnius heard one more charismatic classic of jazz, the Jamaican pianist living in the USA Monty Alexander and his trio.

The 66-year-old musician astounded even the jazz professionals by his performance, original and fast turns of thought as well as the inexhaustible energy.

Swift and elegant passages of M.Alexander, unpredictable change of tempo, heart-touching swing, jugglery with quotations from the most different “operas”: traditional jazz, academic classical music, pop, Caribbean music – the musician made the audience and partners of the maestro listen to him carefully.

The members of M.Alexander's trio, the American double-bassist Lorin Cohen and Dutch drummer Frits Landesberger, were busy catching the notes and commands of the whimsical leader. Meanwhile, the jazz veteran himself played as if he had forgotten everything in the world: he danced with his shoulders and waist, stamped his feet, lifting a hand over the head or starting to sing occasionally.

Perhaps the audience would not have lost much if M.Alexander played solo: his young partners were far behind the leader as for the colours, moods and technique.

“Partners are not necessary to me, but I enjoy changing my role,” the piano virtuoso admitted. “Trio is like a small orchestra, and I am its conductor. I love sharing impulses with others on the stage. It is an endless process: nothing is ever correct, it is only good.”

M.Alexander admitted that he did not like rehearsals on his own and with the trio: concerts are his rehearsals. Maestro prepared to the recital in Switzerland on Vilnius stage.

The melodies of M.Alexander turned into breathtaking compositions. Maestro granted original mood to the majority of jazz standards during the evening in Vilnius: music pieces by Stevie Wonder or Bob Marley; he performed music from the newest album "Calypso Blues" dedicated to his inspirer Nat "King" Cole. The musician also paid a tribute to the king of Afro-Caribbean music Harry Belafontei and performs his own musical compositions.

“I listened to the music as to a detective story eager to find out what will happen next,” the jazz keyboardist Olegas Molokojedovas shared his impressions of the evening. “M.Alexander is a genius, and his technique is perfect. It is long time since I heard such masterful performance and swing; and I have not heard such fresh mix of traditional jazz, pop music and reggae at all.”

No signs of fatigue appeared in the face of M.Alexander after the improvisational concert of more than two hours and three encores, while this did not apply to other members of the trio.

“My source of energy is love to music. I cannot explain the secret of my inspiration. It's like the wind,” the maestro assured after the concert.

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