Pianist and composer Monty Alexander brings his colorful repertoire to Birdland jazz club (315 West 44th Street) March 22-26. Alexander’s trio will include bassist Luke Sellick and drummer Jason Brown. He is a traditional jazz pianist who implements his extensive seven decades in playing originals and interpretations of music by Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver and Stevie Wonder.
In the early ’80s he earned a reputation as a serious jazz traditionalist playing memorable duos with Tommy Flanagan and Randy Weston. Always staying attuned to his Jamaican roots, Alexander formed a reggae band in the 1990s and recorded a collection of Bob Marley songs on the album “Stir It Up” (Telarc 1999), and in 2000, he recorded “Monty Meets Sly & Robbie” producer/writer/musicians duo. Established jazz singers such as Ernestine Anderson and
Mary Stallings acknowledged the pianist for his soft lyrical touch.
Most of Alexander’s 15 Concord recordings between 1978 and 1996 presented him in swinging trio contexts; five dates with Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis and others associated with pianist Oscar Peterson like Mads Vinding, Ed Thigpen and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen.
Alexander’s playing is magical and that varied repertoire rattles your toes. For reservations and schedule visit birdlandjazz.com.
New York City strap-hangers pre-COVID-19 were accustomed and some amused by the talent of those creative dancers from break dancing to young men flipping, poppin’ and swingin dam near on the subway ceiling. Well, the choreographer Alice Ripoll and ten young members of all-Black Rio de Janeiro company Suave will make their U.S. debut with CRIA at Brooklyn’s BAM (Fisherman Space), reflecting the same energetic creativity as our own subway crews, March 29-April 2.
CRIA is the raw embodiment of youth dances taken from the street to legitimate stage. They are taking the movement vocabularies of dancinha, a hot mix of funk, samba, and breakdance, and passinho, the life force of favela culture; choreographer Alice Ripoll relocates the wild exuberance of adolescence through dance. Driven by the social injustice in Brazil, the piece alternates between intense states of exultation and celebration, with the highly charged group absorbing and reconstructing the music’s rapid and jerky rhythm.
The choreographer Ripoll was born in Rio de Janeiro. She studied to be a psychoanalyst at age 21 and took the path to study dance when she became curious about the bodies and movement research possibilities. Her work embraces contemporary dance and urban dance styles from Brazil through research that opens space for the dancers to transform into images the experiences and memories that still live in each one. Alice directs two groups: REC and SUAVE.
There will be one show each evening at 7:30 p.m. at BAM Fisher located at 321 Ashland Place. For tickets and information visit bam.org or call 718-636-4100.
Sista’s Place (456 Nostrand Ave.), the jazz oasis in the heart of Bed-Stuy is rarely open on a Sunday but on April 3, at 3 p.m. it will host the memorial celebration of the pioneer jazz promoter and Jazz Spotlight News publisher Jim Harrison, hosted by his main man WBGO’s Rob Crocker. Sista’s Place was his favorite spot, where he had his own special table but that’s how our man Jim rolled. If you knew him, be there, all his jazz buddies will have a special jam session in his honor. I would mention the names but Jim knew all the musicians so it may very well be one of those jam-packed places like the old Minton’s where Mary Lou Williams said there were more musicians in the place than patrons. But that’s how Jim rolled, nuff said it’s about Jim Harrison whom we miss madly. Be there lots of talk, loads of memories, great stories and the music, well you probably won’t catch all these cats together in one place again, maybe never, but that’s how Jim rolled…