Home  |  Audio Reviews  Audiophile Shows Partner Mags  News     

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

The Monty Alexander Trio
Impressions in Blue
Monty Alexander, Piano
Hassan Shakus, Bass
Mark Taylor, Drums
John Pizzarelli, Guitarist (Special Guest)

Review by Karl Lozier
Click here to e-mail reviewer

The Monty Alexander Trio Impressions in Blue

CD Stock Number: Telarc CD-83578


  It seems as if Monty Alexander's career is continuing to soar. The well-known Jazz and Bop pianist from Jamaica is generally credited with being influenced by Oscar Peterson, Gene Harris, Nat King Cole and Ahmad Jamal. Jamaican and Caribbean rhythms and influence often pop up in his playing style. They are pretty much missing in this recording, here the blues side of jazz is often recurring. As an aside, the name of his band in Jamaica was called "Monty and the Cyclones". In the U.S. he started playing with some big bands including Art Mooney's. He also did gigs with a number of other top soloists. One of his earliest and favorite pairings was with the justly famous bassist Ray Brown. This album's inner cover contains the following:

To Raymond Mathews Brown, boss
- Monty Alexander 
(I assume "boss" refers to their relationship many years ago.) 

Classical musical lovers, yes classical music lovers (!) can get quite a kick out of this varied collection! The title song, "Impression in Blue", could easily have carried the title "Rhapsody in Blue" as that is how it starts out and very impressively so! It also finishes with that melody and in between there is much that I would describe as theme and variations. I guess that makes me biased in favor of all that goes on here and the performance is just fine thank you, sprightly and to a very directed point. The second selection, "Aranjuez Impression," is obviously grounded in an old favorite of mine, Rodrigo's Guitar concerto. For anyone not familiar with that subtle masterpiece, my recommendation is try it and do so while it's on your mind - a rather quiet introspective piece of Spanish flavored guitar plus orchestra. Miles David played around with it years ago in his well-known Sketches of Spain. Here, Monty Alexander evidently arranged the introductory passages note for note and playing the piano in a manner consistent with how a guitarist does it. Extremely well done and bassist Hassan Shakus has at it for a few passages also. That is tough to do as the double bass does not emit beautiful notes or tones in its upper registers. The trio does a perfect low-key version of that music and to fine effect. I had wondered why they had not asked guitarist John Pizzarelli to join in on this track, but ultimately it made more sense not to include the piece's original instrument in a jazz rendition of it.


I am not going to spoil things by pointing out all the little details, some hidden and some obvious in this outstanding CD, which even non-jazz lovers should appreciate. The next two sections are grouped as Duke's Reflections (Duke Ellington tunes) and Where the Tradewinds Blow (selections featuring three different West Indies' areas). 

The following section (King Cole Reflections) is very obviously a tribute to the music and life of the great Nat King Cole. Here special guest, guitarist John Pizzarelli is added. Pizzarelli pretty much gets equal microphone spot lighting here something not always true for others elsewhere on this CD. In particular I was kept waiting to hear Mark Taylor get loose and give listeners some unbridled dynamics on the drum set. Monty was given almost full rein and often is really "playing into the keys" with a great deal of dynamics. At times it seemed as if his left hand was overpowering the right, a minor and questionable quibble. On this group of three "Cole tunes" Alexander + Pizzarelli interpretations, excellent as they are, do not catch Cole's style on all three selections - see what you think.

I had to laugh to myself the first time I played the recording when out of nowhere came Johnny Mercer's well-known classic of the old West, I'm an Old Cowhand. I don't know if the improvisations are part bop, cool, early modern or some fusion jazz, but all was fun. I am very pleased to give this album my top recommendation. It might not be perfect, but it does not miss by far even in sound quality; it is somewhere between enjoyable and downright fun. I know not why but the CD's cover did not list John Pizzarelli, but I deservedly added him in my title listings.











































Quick Links

Audiophile Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews


Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Ultra High-End Audio Reviews


Enjoy the Music.TV


Editorials By Tom Lyle
Viewpoint By Roger Skoff
Viewpoint By Steven R. Rochlin
Various Think Pieces
Manufacturer Articles

Show Reports
Pacific Audio Fest 2022 Report
T.H.E. Show 2022 Report
HIGH END Munich 2022
AXPONA 2022 Show Report
CanJam Singapore 2022 Report
Salon Audio Montréal Audiofest 2022
Florida Audio Expo 2022
AudioCon Los Angeles 2022
Capital Audiofest 2021 Show
The HiFi Summit Q2 2021
T.H.E. Show 2021 Report
The HiFi Summit Q4 2020
The HiFi Summit Q2 2020
Bristol Hi-Fi Show Report 2020
Click here for previous shows.


Audiophile Contests
Cool Free Stuff For You
Tweaks For Your System
Vinyl Logos For LP Lovers
Lust Pages Visual Beauty


Resources & Information
Music Definitions
Hi-Fi Definitions


Daily Industry News

High-End Audio News & Information


Partner Print Magazines
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
HiFi Media
Hi-Fi World
Sound Practices
The Absolute Sound
VALVE Magazine


For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics


Contests & Our Mailing List

Our free newsletter for monthly updates & enter our contests!




Home   |   Industry News   |   Equipment Reviews   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us


All contents copyright©  1995 - 2022  HighEndAudio.com and Enjoy the Music.com®
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.