Jamaican jazz veteran Monty Alexander, recognized as the fifth greatest jazz pianist ever in The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of All Time (Hal Leonard Publishing) was on Thanksgiving Friday bestowed with a US Proclamation from Westchester County (NY) Executive George Latimer. The presentation took place at the Westchester Music Experience (WME) concert at the Tarrytown Music Hall where Alexander was the headline performer. Mayor of Tarrytown, Thomas Butler Jr made the presentation.
Jamaica’s Consul General to New York Alsion Roach Wilson also announced at the event that she would submit Monty’s name to the government of Jamaica for him to be conferred with Jamaica’s fourth-highest honour, the ‘Order of Merit’ for his rich musical legacy.
“To receive this great news from the Consul General tonight has made me feel very, very honored” Monty shared.
Alexander and his backing band (The Harlem-Kingston Express) were in fine nick, serving up an enthralling string of classics hits including ‘Love Notes,’ ‘Old Marcus Garvey’ (Burning Spear), L.O.V.E. (Frank Sinatra) and ‘Regulator’ aka ‘Reggae Later’ – a James Bond/007 inspired update that drew rapturous applause. Throughout his 90 plus minutes on stage, the music maestro masterfully used his instruments of choice – the piano and the melodica – to speak the universal language of music. Midway his set, he eloquently weaved his jazz offering with Marley classics ‘Redemption Song,’ ‘No Woman No Cry,’ ‘The Heathen’ and ‘Running Away’ that hit the bullseye.
Other performers included singer Nando Griffiths, the son of jockey Winston ‘Fanna’ Griffiths and nephew of Reggae Queen Marcia Griffiths and the International Women In Reggae. The Brooklyn based all female outfit delivered a short but sumptuous Thanksgiving treat that included ‘Fever,’ ‘The Way,’ ‘If You Knew (Keisha Martin on lead vocal), ‘Murder She Wrote’ (Tova on violin) and ‘Turn Your Lights Down Low.’
Event executive producer Andrea Bullens said patrons were extremely happy with the presentation.
“We have been getting a lot of positive feedback about the event,” she shared.
“In 2019 I launched the Westchester Reggae Music Festival at The Capitol Theatre, in Westchester County with a focus of staging more reggae events north of the city. We presented Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt, Ken Boothe backed by the Derrick Barnet band and introduced the International Women In Reggae (IWIR) to our patrons. The intent of the Westchester Music brand is to fill the void with consistent live reggae music offering north of the city. We took an obvious break because of the Covid-19 pandemic but came back with a bang on Thanksgiving Friday with Monty and guests. The show was highly anticipated and patrons got their money’s worth. We have plans to continue to develop the Westchester brand with more events. We have partnered with Westchester County and they are very optimistic about the future.”