Monty Alexander’s rendition of jazz standard On Green Dolphin Street is our Song for Sunday.
Of all the genres you could associate with Jamaica, jazz isn’t one of them and perhaps that would do a disservice to the nation and its musicians. An unsung hero from the Caribbean island is Monty Alexander, a jazz pianist born in Kingston. Having taken classical lessons at six years old, his interest eventually turned towards jazz and began playing in clubs before directing his own dance orchestra at the age of sixteen. A move to Miami in 1961 helped his career and lead to a number of high profile collaborations with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Milt Jackson, Dizzy Gillespie and Jamaican institution Sly & Robbie.
Monty’s style lends itself to the free flowing music of his native homeland, influenced by calpyso and rhythm & blues, which he implemented into inspirations from the likes of Ahmad Jamal and Oscar Peterson, swinging effortlessly through the realms of bop and, further back, the speedy striding of Art Tatum. On Green Dolphin Street, he uses these techniques to infuse extra life into an otherwise smooth standard by Miles Davis.
Stream it below.