Love You Madly: Live At Bubba´s
Review by Willard Manus

“Sir Monty has done it once again, teaching all of us that when it comes to elegance, mystery and groove, Monty is king!”

“Monty’s embrace of the infinite facets of the blues is profound. His Jamaican sunshine is transformationally healing. His name is synonymous with musical enchantment!”

“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 Alexander’s latest CD, LOVE YOU MADLY: LIVE AT BUBBA’S.

The two-disc album was first recorded forty years ago by Criteria Recording Studios’ legendary founder Mack Emerman at Bubba’s Jazz Restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

“Hey, can I come and record you?” Mack asked Monty. “I’ll bring the remote truck.” Monty said okay and Mack recorded Monty’s 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 can’t quite believe it.

“When I hear back some of these recordings from Bubba’s, it’s like I don’t understand how I got in such a musical zone. It’s like What? How come? What’s that? That’s like magic,” he confides.

“This musical thing. You can’t label it. You can’t analyze it, it’s just wonderful that I’m playing and I’ve got these three guys with me. Beautiful...Bubba’s 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. Bubba’s was perfect. It was relaxed. Bubba’s 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.