by Willard Manus
Monty has done it once again, teaching all of us that when it comes to
elegance, mystery and groove, Monty is king!
embrace of the infinite facets of the blues is profound. His Jamaican
sunshine is transformationally healing. His name is synonymous with musical
I love the way Monty plays.
These comments about pianist Monty Alexander by famed keyboardists Christian
Sands, Benny Green and Kenny Barron, respectively, pretty much sum up
the essence of Alexanders latest CD, LOVE YOU MADLY: LIVE AT BUBBAS.
The two-disc album was first recorded forty years ago by Criteria Recording
Studios legendary founder Mack Emerman at Bubbas Jazz Restaurant
in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Hey, can I come and record you? Mack asked Monty. Ill
bring the remote truck. Monty said okay and Mack recorded Montys
entire performance on Aug. 6, 1982. And then the son of a gun gave
me the whole tape, as a gift, Monty recalled.
That tape, which Monty proceeded to put aside and forget about, was rescued
from obscurity by George Klabin of Resonance Records, who then remastered
it and released it as a CD and limited-edition vinyl package, accompanied
by an informative booklet.
Joined by bassist Paul Berner, drummer Duffy Jackson and percussionist
Robert Thomas, Jr.-who are soul-mates as well as band-mates-Monty
burns his way through thirteen jazz tunes, everything from standards,
ballads, blues, funk and sambas.
From start to finish the musical standard is so high, so energetic and
thrilling, that even Monty himself cant quite believe it.
I hear back some of these recordings from Bubbas, its like
I dont understand how I got in such a musical zone. Its like
What? How come? Whats that? Thats like magic, he confides.
This musical thing. You cant label it. You cant analyze
it, its just wonderful that Im playing and Ive got these
three guys with me. Beautiful...Bubbas was a great place. When you
played, the people were really sitting there enthralled. There was an
attitude there where people listened instead of blabbing. Bubbas
was perfect. It was relaxed. Bubbas was ideal.
Monty, who names Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson and Ahmad Jamal as his
musical heroes, now assumes a place beside them in the jazz pantheon.