Rocksteady

Rocksteady

by Monty Alexander
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Before he moved Stateside in 1961 to make a name for himself as a jazz pianist, Monty Alexander was a kid in Kingston prone to hanging out at Coxson Dodd's Studio One. Guitarist Ernest Ranglin, the genius architect of ska, was often to be found at Dodd's place, too, and that long musical connection accounts for the bonhomie that beamsSee more details below

Overview

Before he moved Stateside in 1961 to make a name for himself as a jazz pianist, Monty Alexander was a kid in Kingston prone to hanging out at Coxson Dodd's Studio One. Guitarist Ernest Ranglin, the genius architect of ska, was often to be found at Dodd's place, too, and that long musical connection accounts for the bonhomie that beams forth from Rocksteady. Alexander and Ranglin have met on tape before -- 1970's Ras, to be specific -- but there's a sonorous maturity to the playing of these grand old masters that's a joy to hear. As the title indicates, the repertoire is, in the main, Jamaican hits from the late '60s, from Dave and Ansel Collins's "Double Barrel" to Desmond Dekker's "Israelites." Each is taken fairly straight, with the bubbling rocksteady beat carrying the dueling soloists along. Ranglin's guitar signature is a trebly chicken scratch, deployed with good humor and grace -- his ambling solos occasionally recall Jerry Garcia on an especially good night. Alexander, for his part, brings all manner of color to these tunes, quoting ragtime, nursery rhymes, and offering the occasional post-bop nod. That's about as progressive as the pair get. This is jazz in the soul-style of Grant Green, though; Toots Hibbert's appearance on their rendition of his "Pressure Drop" sums up the feel-good atmosphere and casual music making of Rocksteady. Fans of reggae's early days will find it hard to resist spending time with these legendary players.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
Prior to becoming an ace mainstream jazz pianist in the U.S., native Jamaican Monty Alexander played on countless sessions at Studio One in Kingston -- well before reggae, rocksteady, and even ska crossed the seas. Since 1998, secure in his jazz credentials, he has been reminding listeners of those roots, cranking out album after album and managing to unite jazz and reggae in a sometimes irresistible fusion. This time, Alexander reaches further back to pre-reggae Jamaican pop from the late '60s/early '70s, bringing along a guitar-slinging friend from the old days, Ernest Ranglin. On previous Jamaican-accented albums, Alexander sometimes sounded as if he was making an effort to hold back his prodigious technique in order to keep things simple. But here he sounds more comfortable paring down his playing to the basics while still throwing in an occasional sly quote or monster lick, now going more and more to his evocative melodica playing. Ranglin brings a brittle, staccato touch to everything he touches, and the rhythm section careens gently along, with only rare hints of a ska feel and without the overpowering dub-flavored bass of previous Alexander Jamaican outings like "Meets Sly and Robbie" and parts of "Goin' Yard." Desmond Dekker's "Israelites," one of the first genuine Jamaican hits in the U.S., moves and grooves much like the original while allowing for some jazz licks. Less well-known in America, perhaps, are some other choices like Ken Boothe's "Freedom Street" and the Congos' "Row Fisherman." Moving up a bit on the time scale, Alexander and Ranglin include the Burning Spear signature tune "Marcus Garvey" and with heads bowed, they close the album with a dignified duo rendition of the Hon. Robert Nesta Marley's "Redemption Song." The six-channel surround mix on this hybrid SACD is simple and strikingly consistent, with Quentin Baxter's drums and Junior Jazz's scratching rhythm guitar coming from the rear channels, and Alexander, Ranglin, and occasional hand percussion coming from the front.

Read More

Product Details

Release Date:
03/23/2004
Label:
Telarc
UPC:
0089408358128
catalogNumber:
83581
Rank:
67725

Tracks

Read More

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Monty Alexander   Primary Artist,Piano,Melodica
Toots Hibbert   Vocals
Ernest Ranglin   Guitar
Courtney Panton   Hand Drums
Gary Mayone   Keyboards
Junior Jazz   Rhythm Guitar
Hassan Shakur   Acoustic Bass
Quentin Baxter   Drums

Technical Credits

Ken Boothe   Composer
Desmond Dekker   Composer
Bob Marley   Composer
Monty Alexander   Composer,Producer
Don Drummond   Composer
Cedric Myton   Composer
B.B. Seaton   Composer
Philip Fullwood   Composer
Toots Hibbert   Composer
Wayne Jobson   Liner Notes
Leslie Kong   Composer
Augustus Pablo   Composer
Winston Rodney   Composer
Robert Woods   Executive Producer
Robert Friedrich   Engineer
Winston Riley   Composer
Anilda Carrasquillo   Art Direction
Brian Montgomery   Engineer
Roydel Johnson   Composer
Ed Meitner   Engineer
Adrian Mills   Producer

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >