Happy Birthday Monty Alexander

June 6, 1944

No Woman, No Cry

Pianist Monty Alexander, born Montgomery Bernard Alexander, was born on June 6, 1944, in Kingston, Jamaica.

He began his piano training in classical music at the age of six. At 14, he discovered jazz and recorded his first jazz album at 20.

Since then, he has recorded dozens more albums as a leader and has played as a sideman with Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, and many others.

His passion for music was ignited by seeing performances by artists like Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole at the Carib Theater in Jamaica. His first significant venture as a musician was directing a dance orchestra called Monty and the Cyclones, which performed in local Kingston clubs.

At the age of 17, his family moved to Miami, Florida, and a year later, at 18, he was performing at Jilly Rizzo’s jazz club, Jilly’s. There, he played with Frank Sinatra and met bassist Ray Brown and vibist Milt Jackson. His first album, “Alexander the Great,” recorded for Pacific Jazz, was released when he was 20.

“No Woman, No Cry,” written for and popularized by Bob Marley & The Wailers’ 1974 studio album “Natty Dread,” is a reggae classic.