Monty Alexander: Harlem-Kingston Express Vol. 2: The River Rolls On

Rating: ★★★

Record and Artist Details


Karl Wright (d)
Earl Appleton (kys)
Andy Bassford (g)
Monty Alexander (p)
Caterina Zapponi (v)
Hassan Shakur (b)
Wendel Ferraro (v)
Obed Calvaire (d)
Courtney Panton (perc)
Yotam Silberstein (g, oud)
Frits Landersbergen (d)




Catalogue Number:



date not stated

“I'm a Jamaican. I'm an American. I'm a proud Jamerican. Identity crisis? No – identities embraced!” So declares Monty Alexander in the notes to his latest reggae-jazz hybrid album. It's a tricky concept, the thumping rigidity of the reggae beat, so great for dancing, can sometimes be too inflexible for jazz phrasing by one of the finest acoustic pianists of our age. Yet Monty makes a much more satisfying job of it here than in his previous Harlem-Kingston release. The arrangements are tighter and better rehearsed, giving all the musicians time to change gear in the right places, and the personnel is carefully reduced, with the two rhythm sections no longer getting in each others' way. It's a very varied set in which Monty even essays a few smoochy ballads. He sings in tune but is no Nat King Cole. On piano he is on sexier form, getting right down to the funky essentials and thereby adding a lazy Caribbean feel to his harmonic sophistication. ‘Trust’, a gospel-based original, is a particularly good example. Other pleasures are the work of Yotam Silberstein, a real guitar discovery, and ‘Love Notes’, a guest-star frolic for George Benson, Ramsey Lewis and Joe Sample recorded at Echo Beach Studios in Jupiter, Florida.

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