Jazz Gallery
Soul / Gospel & World gallery
Essential Listening
Tributes
Gig Guide / News
Opinion / Music Talk
The Hi Fi Experience
Related services
Related Sites & Info
Sales
Staff Profiles
Guest Feedback
Contact M V Studio
Back to Home Page

 

 

 

Joey Alexander

Joey Alexander

Joey Alexander
@ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club
13 November 2016

Click an image to enlarge.

Biography

Born on June 25, 2003 on the island of Bali, pianist Joey Alexander originally learned about jazz from his dad, who exposed his son to a variety of classic albums from his extensive collection. At the age of six, Alexander began teaching himself to play piano using a mini electronic keyboard given to him by his father. He was immediately able to pick out the melody of Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t,” but he didn’t stop there. Alexander’s dad nurtured his gift of swing and improvisation by taking him to jam sessions with veteran musicians in Bali and Jakarta.

Alexander’s musicianship and grasp of jazz fundamentals developed at a remarkable pace, and at age eight UNESCO invited him to play solo piano for an elated Herbie Hancock during the piano great’s visit to Indonesia. Alexander later remarked to Hancock, “You told me that you believed in me, and that was the day I decided to dedicate my childhood to jazz.”

At nine, Alexander won the grand prize at the first Master-Jam Fest, an all-ages competition in Ukraine which included 200 competitors from 17 countries. By 10, he was performing at jazz festivals in both Jakarta and Copenhagen. An invitation from Wynton Marsalis led to his U.S. debut appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall in 2014 where he amazed the audience with his musicality, followed by appearances before the Jazz Foundation of America at the Apollo and the Arthur Ashe Learning Center at Gotham Hall. Wishing to encourage the continued development of Joey’s prodigious playing, his parents sold the family business in Jakarta and relocated to the United States. Success did not arrive overnight, however. Promoters were sceptical that an 11 year-old could drive substantial ticket sales and captivate discerning jazz audiences, but soon recognised his ability to absolutely delight audiences, despite the challenges associated with learning a new language. Alexander experienced a major stroke of luck when he received an invitation from impresario George Wein to perform on two stages at the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival. Alexander took full advantage of the opportunity and brought audiences to their feet with his playful musicality and keen sense of swing.

Over the past two years Alexander has been paying his dues and honing his craft: learning what it means to be a bandleader, keeping material fresh after repeated performances, and seeking out sidemen who are also collaborators. Along the way, The Joey Alexander Trio has performed at well-known venues and major festivals across the United States and around the globe, including tour dates in Tel Aviv, Marciac, Montre´al, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Bern, Prague, Vienna, Perugia, and his native Indonesia.

Media interest in Alexander has resulted in appearances and interviews for The Today Show, 60 Minutes, CNN, The New York Times, and a host of other television, radio and print media. This has fuelled a rare level of public notoriety for Alexander as a jazz musician, entirely unheard of for one his age, both within the jazz community and among the public at large.

Alexander’s 2015 debut album for Motema Music, “My Favorite Things,” garnered two Grammy Award nominations for ‘Best Jazz Instrumental Album’ and ‘Best Improvised Solo’ for his performance of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” making him the youngest jazz artist ever nominated for a Grammy. His performances on the 58th Annual Grammy Awards broadcast - far more magical than what was expected - received standing ovations from the star-studded audience, bringing his talent to the attention of music lovers everywhere, mesmerising long-time industry professionals, and inspiring other young musicians to pursue their own dreams.

Joey Alexander

Joey Alexander

Willie Jones III

Joey Alexander


Recommended
Listening

 

Countdown My Favorite Things

Go back to the London Jazz Festival 2016 home page.

 Go back to the jazz gallery.

[ Top ]