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 got off to an early start on the piano training in classical music at six. At 14 he discovered jazz and recorded his first jazz album at 20.

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

Seeing performances at the Carib Theater in Jamaica by artists like Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole flamed his passion for the music. His first major venture as a musician was directing a dance orchestra (Monty and the Cyclones) that played in local Kingston, Jamaica clubs.

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

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

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