By: Elizabeth Smith
The self described "musician who loves all genres," Monty Alexander - best known around the world for his mastery of jazz and all its fusions, will unfortunately not be performing at the upcoming January 12 'Rebel Salute' as planned.
Sending out his sincere regrets on having to make this decision, Alexander says although he has been highly anticipating the 'Rebel Salute' performance since being invited by Tony Rebel in May last year, he feels compelled to respond to a request from the family of the late Oscar Peterson to perform at his memorial concert.
Scheduled for the same January 12, 2008 date as 'Rebel Salute,' the concert will be held in Toronto, Canada and Monty has expressed how plain torn up he is at having to disappoint his brother, Tony Rebel, and his nation. Jamaicans have for years lauded the wonderful talent that thrust Monty into varied forms of musical experiences, but his decision rests on the immense example for excellence in Jazz that Oscar Peterson was in his lifetime and the fact that as a dear friend, the late Peterson was one of his strongest supporters since the 1960s.
Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica in 1944, Monty was greatly influenced by all sorts of musical settings including Carib Theatre shows featuring icons like, Louis Armstrong and Nat "King" Cole. Moving to the US, the musician who, "Came from the streets, like many American Jazz greats," moved swiftly from gigging in Las Vegas to the Big Apple and accompanying and recording with artistes like, Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Sonny Rollins and Rey Brown. He has been regular fixture at the Montreaux Jazz Festival since 1976 and Monty also assisted Nathalie Cole with her 7 time Grammy winning Tribute to Nat "King" Cole album. In 1999 he combined acoustic jazz with reggae and most recently released 12 compositions written by Bob Marley and re-interpreted by his jazz piano-oriented arrangements, titled, "Concrete Jungle."
Since the December 24th passing of Oscar Peterson, Monty has been experiencing a profound sense of personal loss. There has also been an internal struggle for him dealing with the conflicting concert dates.
He will surely be missed at Rebel Salute.