Monty Alexander Trio to Perform at Mount Union College February 10

February 11, 2008

montyalexanderMount Union College will feature the Monty Alexander Trio as the guest performance for Black History Month on Sunday, February 10 at 3 p.m. in the Mount Union Theatre.

By grafting the traditions of American jazz to his authentic Jamaican roots, pianist Monty Alexander has spent a lifetime exploring the rich depths of musical and cultural diversity. In a career that spans more than four decades, he has performed and/or recorded with artists from every corner of the musical universe including Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones and many more.

Alexander continues to draw inspiration from the great icons of American music and popular culture. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, he began his piano studies at the age of six. As a youngster, he was often invited to sit in with the bands of prominent musicians in Jamaica. While still a teenager, he witnessed the performances of Louis Armstrong and Nat “King” Cole at the Carib Theater in Jamaica, and his piano style was deeply affected by their joyful gospel of jazz. The shades of joyful gospel music in these artists' performances had a profound and lasting effect on Alexander's own style.

Alexander came to the United States in 1961. One introduction led to another, and before long he was working with such legends as Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry and Sonny Rollins. He maintains a busy schedule with multiple projects spanning multiple genres and styles and has recorded nearly sixty CDs under his own name.

 “Trio playing at its best is a situation in which the participants willingly support each other,” said Alexander. “Working together as one and going along with the ‘driver's’ directions, each player bringing virtuosity, optimism, mutual respect, good will, and of course, the desire to ‘make it feel good’ for all human beings in the general proximity.”

Separate and apart from being the best musician he can be, Alexander's most important objective – whether his vehicle is reggae or jazz or soul, small combo or symphony – is to express the joy of music to all within earshot, regardless of prevailing differences in taste or culture. “My goal is to uplift,” says Alexander. “The piano, to me, is a vehicle for connecting to other human beings. I'm very open to all forms of music. I'm a musician who loves it all.’

This performance is free and open to the public. For further information, contact the Office of Alumni and College Activities at (330) 823-2030.

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