Stir It Up: The Music of Bob Marley

Stir It Up: The Music of Bob Marley

by Monty AlexanderMonty Alexander


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How do you reconcile a harmonically basic, rhythmically upside-down idiom like Bob Marley's reggae with the bop-derived environment in which pianist Monty Alexander usually works? Indeed, Alexander prefers not to choose, gambling audaciously by combining a six-piece Jamaican reggae rhythm section, the Gumption Band, with a three-piece jazz rhythm team. That makes for an interesting tussle; one rhythm section surges in front of the other and vice versa in a constant battle for supremacy (the Gumption Band usually comes off as the more dominant force). Sometimes Monty is limited to just a single right-hand line ("Is This Love?"); a '90s equivalent of those '60s albums where mainstream bopsters restrained themselves trying to cover Top 40 tunes. Not until "Stir It Up," which sounds a bit like Ahmad Jamal getting into the reggae groove, does Monty at last sound like a melodically free man. "No Woman, No Cry" ignites midway with a good fusion of a pure reggae groove and some harmonically advanced jazz, "So Ja Sah" has a swinging union of the two sections that also respects Marley's unusual rhythmic concept, and there is a hot remix of "Could You Be Loved" as a bonus track (with master drummer Sly Dunbar). Guest trombonist Steve Turre seems right at home with the reggae gait on "Running Away" and gets a straight-ahead bop solo in a slightly frenetic "I Shot the Sheriff." There isn't any doubt that Alexander loves Marley's music -- listen to his simple, touching Marley elegy "Nesta (He Touched the Sky)" -- yet this attempt to pay homage only comes together in patches.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/25/1999
Label: Telarc
UPC: 0089408346927
catalogNumber: 83469
Rank: 47246

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Monty Alexander   Primary Artist
Glen Browne   Bass
Troy Davis   Drums
Sly Dunbar   Track Performer
Steve Turre   Trombone,Track Performer,Conch Shell
Dwight Dawes   Keyboards
Derek DiCenzo   Guitar
Rolando Wilson   Drums
Robert Angus   Guitar
Desmond Jones   Percussion
Hassan J. J. Wiggins   Bass

Technical Credits

Bob Marley   Composer
Glen Browne   Arranger,Director,Producer
Sly Dunbar   Remixing
Jack Renner   Engineer
Dennis Thompson   Sound Advisor
Robert Woods   Producer
Robert Friedrich   Engineer
Neil Tesser   Liner Notes
Anilda Carrasquillo   Art Direction,Cover Design
Dermott Hussey   Liner Notes

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