Album Reviews

Joey Alexander amazes with his first album, My Favorite Things

Joey Alexander amazes with his first album, My Favorite Things

Joey Alexander is born as Josiah Alexander Sila, on June 25, 2003. He is an Indonesian jazz pianist and is considered a child prodigy. He released his first album, “My Favorite Things” on May 12, 2015, at age 11. Alexander taught himself to play jazz at age six, and has performed for Herbie Hancock and Bill Clinton.
Joining Alexander here is a mix of older and younger associates, including journeyman bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. Also backing Alexander on various tracks are bassist Russell Hall, drummer Sammy Miller, and up-and-coming firebrand trumpeter Alphonso Horne.Joey-Alexander-–-My-Favorite-Things
The album has 10 songs, released by Motema Music. All but one track, an original he calls “Ma Blues,” will be familiar to anyone who’s been around the jazz block more than once: “Over the Rainbow,” Dizzy’s “Tour de Force,” “Giant Steps” and the title track, of course also Coltrane-associated. Alexander arranged them all too.
My Favorite Things,” produced by Jason Olaine, the director of programming and touring for Jazz at Lincoln Center, shows him to be a thoughtful musician as well as a natural one, with a sophisticated harmonic palette and a dynamic sensitivity.
The title track might attract the eye, thanks to its familiar title, but the brilliance of Alexander can be grasped best during the opening number, “Giant Steps,” where he quite literally walks in the wake of jazz giants.
We can all agree that this modern Mozart has so much more to offer, and we can’t wait for his next “miracle”.

Milena Staniskovska

February 26th, 2016

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