Tom Gray preview's Monty Alexander - Ronnie Scott’s, Monday 23-Thursday 26 August
Anyone still feeling the comedown after the glut of great music on offer during the Brit Jazz festival would be well advised to get themselves back to Ronnie’s next week for the cure. The warmly enveloping sound made by Monty Alexander ’s group is certain to pull faces into near-permanent grins and set feet and fingers involuntarily tapping. With a CV including names such as Frank Sinatra, Ray Brown and Tony Bennett, it is no surprise that Alexander can swing like no other pianist around today. Add into the mix his innate feeling for reggae and ska (Alexander grew up in Kingston, Jamaica), and his music becomes pretty much irresistible. His late-August residencies have been a highlight of the Ronnie’s calendar, providing some memorable evenings.
This year he appears with an intriguing line-up of Hassan Shakur on bass, Yotam Silberstein on guitar and Robert Thomas Jr on hand drum. And you never know who might join them: a guest appearance from Kevin Spacey a few years back still sticks firmly in my mind, along with the sheer joy of Alexander’s set that night.