Uptown Sound: Monty Alexander’s Jazzy Reggae

Words By Jason”J-Rockaz” Orford

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It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing-sway-ba-da-doom-clack! The jazz-meets-reggae fusion of Monty Alexander and the Harlem-Kingston Express is one of the coolest sounds bubbling around town right now, one part Mo Betta Blues and one part Rockers, a mix best served in a tall glass, cool and deadly pon di rocks.

Monty is that OG jazz-cat who happens to hail from Jamaica. He first hit the States in the ’60s, and 2011 marks fifty years of making music for the silver-haired musician. His discography includes 70 albums and numerous collabos with legends like: Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Bill Cosby, Bobby McFerrin and Ernest Ranglin, to name a few. On stage, he runs the show from the piano with some vocals here and there. Those in NYC can catch a ride on the Harlem-Kingston Express, at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club, tonight through Sunday. No need for a subway map to enjoy the show, though: Just this week, Alexander and crew dropped a live Harlem-Kingston Express CD (with a cover of “King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown”!) recorded at Lincoln Center and other locations around the world. A great set indeed.

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