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Monday, February 11, 2008

Monty Slautes 'Lords of the Windies'


New York: The Lincoln Center, located on Broadway at 60th St., New York City is set to roll out the red carpet on March 7 and 8, 2008 for Jamaican born Jazz pianist Monty Alexander who has organized a special tribute concert billed, "Lords of the West Indies," to honor the 1950s royalty of Jamaican mento music and Trinidadian calypso. The event, which will be part of Jazz at Lincoln Center's 2007-2008 concert season, will take place in the Allen Room at Frederick P Rose Hall in two sets, at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. each night.

"Lords of the West Indies" will present mento, the Jamaican folk music and calypso, the Trinidadian popular music, back to back in an evening that will draw on the enormous cultural legacy and pride of these two great countries. The concerts will feature international caliber players from Jamaica and Trinidad, and from the jazz world. The musicians will present the respective music forms in the spirit of great artists like Trinidadians Lord Kitchener and the Mighty Sparrow, and Jamaicans Lord Flea, Alerth Bedasse, and Harry Belafonte.

"It is always a special treat to perform for music lovers here in New York, the entertainment capital of the world. I am even more excited given that I will be shearing the spotlight with other Caribbean Jazz greats" Alexander said.

Joining Monty on stage will be Pluto Shervington (guitar and vocals), Dean Fraser (alto sax), Desi Jones (drums/percussion), Hassan Shakur (bass), Herlin Riley (drums), Carlton James a.k.a. "Blackie" (banjo and vocals), David "Happy" Williams (acoustic bass/vocals), Etienne Charles (trumpet), Charles Dougherty (sax), "Designer" (vocals), Clifton Anderson (trombone), Joseph Bennett (shaker and vocals) and Albert Morgan (rumba box).

In a career that spans more than four decades, Alexander has performed and/or recorded with musical talents like Frank Sinatra, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Ernest Ranglin, Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare and many more. 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 not a bebop musician, I'm not a calypso musician, I'm not a reggae musician. I'm a musician who loves it."

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