Kurt's Press Archive

At 17 years old, a serendipitous encounter with Frank Sinatra and his long-time pal Jilly Rizzo changed the trajectory of Jamaican-born pianist Monty Alexander’s career forever: Alexander would soon become the house pianist for the famed Jilly’s club in New York City and develop a unique relationship with its most famous patron.

Sinatra’s centennial elicits fond memories of Alexander’s time spent at the intimate hangout, and with the help of GRAMMY® Award-winning and DownBeat Critics Poll-dominating singer Kurt Elling, he will share stories and anecdotes from a treasured and rare perspective. A masterful pianist, Alexander’s career spans five decades and includes collaborations with some of the most important figures in jazz, like Milt Jackson, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie, as well as an illustrious recording career as a leader.

National touring artist Elling, referred to by The Guardian as, “a kind of Sinatra with superpowers,” will provide his vocal interpretation of the classic tunes, to which he is no stranger. Joining the duo will be bassist Hassan Shakur, guitarist Frank Vignola, hand drummer Robert Thomas Jr., and drummer Dennis Mackrel.

This early, nurturing period in which the young pianist and an iconic hero spontaneously mused on saloon songs up into the wee hours of the night is a Valentine’s weekend treat sure to satisfy both nostalgic and contemporary tastes.

Sinatra songs featured in the concert will include “Young at Heart”, “I’ve Got You Under my Skin”, “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning”, “Luck, Be a Lady Tonight”, “The Summer Wind”, and “Fly Me to the Moon”.

Monty Alexander and Friends will perform at the Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center on February 12-13, 2016 from 8:00 pm. Tickets at JALC.