Joey Alexander: Countdown (Motema/Ode)

 |   |  1 min read

Sunday Waltz
Joey Alexander: Countdown (Motema/Ode)

Indonesian Alexander is a child prodigy who caught the jazz world's attention as an 11-year old. He seemed a natural and had been weaned on his father's jazz collection. He played for Herbie Hancock, and Wynton Marsalis saw him on You Tube and invited him to appear at the Lincoln Center's gala programme . . . and he's appeared at Newport and other credible jazz festivals.

He's also been Grammy nominated, most recently for best improvised jazz solo for the Coltrane-penned title track of this, his second album

So the kid, now 13, certainly has the chops and the right attention . . . and on this album you'd not know by listening that he was so young.

With his small group (bass and drums, with soprano sax on his 12 minute version of Hancock's Maiden Voyage), he delivers a delightfully thoughtful treatment of Charlie Chaplin's beautiful ballad Smile alongside some standards (Monk's Criss Cross, Strayhorn's Chelsea Bridge), Marsalis' For Wee Folks and three originals, among them the swinging and gently exploratory City Lights and Soul Dreamer.

He brings home a wonderful blues tone to his own reflective Sunday Waltz.

Put aside his age – it's not a gimmick – and you'd still be impressed by this outing, even if it is fairly straight-ahead.

He may still be the sum of influences but on material like Sunday Waltz and Maiden Voyage you can hear him stretching himself.

There's a long future ahead and while young musicians can often burn out or fade away when their age ceases to be the talking point, there's plenty here to make you think Joey Alexander – real name Josiah Sila – has it in him to go a considerable distance.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

COLIN HEMMINGSEN PROFILED (2012): With his heart in both camps

COLIN HEMMINGSEN PROFILED (2012): With his heart in both camps

In many countries, what Colin Hemmingsen has done all his life would not be considerd so unusual. But in New Zealand he has been a rarity, a musician who has had successful careers in both... > Read more

JACK DeJOHNETTE INTERVIEWED (2011): Two Jacks and a Miles

JACK DeJOHNETTE INTERVIEWED (2011): Two Jacks and a Miles

When fame called on Jack DeJohnette during his period in Miles Davis' innovative electric band of the late Sixties and early Seventies, he was ready for it. Acclaim outside their own world is... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Jeff Kelly: Beneath the Stars, Above the River (Green Monkey/digital outlets)

Jeff Kelly: Beneath the Stars, Above the River (Green Monkey/digital outlets)

Seattle's Jeff Kelly has appeared many times at Elsewhere for over a decade, initially when we made the case for his classy and literate pop-rock with the band Green Pajamas (intelligent indie-pop... > Read more

HUE AND CRY, a film by CHARLES CRICHTON, 1947 (Madman DVD)

HUE AND CRY, a film by CHARLES CRICHTON, 1947 (Madman DVD)

The population in central London in the years after the Second World War was less than half what it is today, around 3.5 million. Even in the early Sixties it wasn't much more . . . which explains... > Read more