October is the Centenary month of the birth of the extremely influential pianist and composer, Thelonious Sphere Monk. That’s the reason that our selection for the October CD of the Month is by the 14-year-old piano phenom Joey Alexander. Not only does he play the music of Monk, he cites Thelonious as his strongest influence and inspiration. Joey was only 6 years on his Indonesian island of birth, Bali, when he was able to identify the melody of Monk’s Well, You Needn’t. After that his father took Joey to jazz jam sessions on the island and nearby Jakarta to play along seasoned veterans. At the tender age of eight, Joey was chosen by UNESCO to audition for Herbie Hancock who was touring Bali, once Herbie approved of his playing, Joey told him “You told me that you believed in me, and that was the day I decided to dedicate my childhood to jazz.”. The jazz world is a better place since he has made that decision. Since then the youngster Joey has been touring the globe performing as well as recording garnering accolades by the biggest names of jazz, receiving many awards and accumulating several Grammy® nominations, the youngest artist to obtain that recognition. In 2015, Joey visited Denver and performed a solo piano, half-hour set in our Phyllis A. Greer Performance Studio much to the delight of our Studio Club Members. listening and streaming audiences.
Joey Alexander's new release for the Motéma label, Joey.Monk.Live! features Scott Colley on bass and Willie Jones III on drums. There a total of seven selections, an opening and closing solo piano recital with five swinging songs in the middle, all Thelonious S. Monk compositions with the special nuances and spices thrown in the by the prodigious 14-year-old. Despite the heavy demands on Joey’s time by promoters and musicians, he still finds time to enjoy being just another teenager playing video games, swimming, watching TV and playing in the park, good for him! KUVO CD of the Month members are receiving the physical CD approximately 4 to 5 weeks before it is released by Motéma which currently is offering only digital download versions of this amazing recording by this remarkable young man. Joey Alexander certainly challenges one’s imagination to envision his future accomplishments after achieving so much before he is old enough to drive a car.