Jazz and Reggae meet at Ta’ Liesse

On Thursday, 14 July, Monty Alexander and the Harlem-Kingston Express will present a project with an interesting blend of reggae and jazz at the Malta Jazz Festival starting at 20:00 in the breathtaking surroundings of Ta’ Liesse, Valletta.

Monty Alexander is one of the main attractions of the festival this year. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, pianist Monty Alexander took his first piano lessons at age six, although he is largely self-taught. In a career spanning five decades, Monty has built a reputation for exploring and bridging the worlds of American jazz with the rhythms of his native Jamaica, from calypso to reggae.

His collaborations span multiple genres, styles, and generations and he has performed and recorded with artists from every corner of the musical universe and entertainment world, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Ernest Ranglin, Barbara Hendricks, Bill Cosby, Bobby McFerrin, Sly Dunbar, and Robbie Shakespeare among others.

Alexander maintains an active touring schedule. He assisted Natalie Cole in her tribute album to her father, Nat “King” Cole in 1991 (the resulting album, Unforgettable, won seven Grammy awards), performed George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” under the direction of Bobby McFerrin at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, and recorded the piano track for the film score of Clint Eastwood’s Bird, a movie about the life of jazz titan Charlie Parker.

In August 2000, the Jamaican government awarded Monty Alexander the title of Commander in the Order of Distinction for outstanding services to Jamaica as a worldwide music ambassador. In Hal Leonard’s 2005 book The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of All Time, Alexander was listed among the top five Jazz pianists of all time. In 2009, Alexander returned to Jazz at Lincoln Center with a new programme Harlem Kingston Express, which blends jazz and his Jamaican roots. Recently he recorded a homage to Bob Marley called concrete jungle.

The line-up for the 21st edition of the Malta Jazz Festival to be held between the 14 and 16 July at Ta’ Liesse, is probably the most eclectic to date. As in past years, the Festival will showcase the contemporary jazz scene, which this year will focus on the world music element. Musicians from Brazil, Jamaica, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Africa will be present on the Jazz Festival stage at Ta’ Liesse.

Tickets are €20 for a single-day ticket, €40 for a 3-day block ticket. Gold section: €30 for a single-day ticket. Concessions (students and +60), €12 for a single-day ticket, €30 for a 3-day block ticket. Free entrance for children of 12 years and under. The Festival is organised by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts under the artistic direction of jazz musician Sandro Zerafa.

For further information please visit the website www.maltajazzfestival.org or send an email to [email protected].