Saturday, May 20, 2017
Joey Alexander Trio!
There arent many 13 year old kids I'd pay money to watch do anything. Oh there are exceptions, I mean Im sure a 13 year old Michael Jackson was pretty damn talented. I do pay for Netflix which means I sort of pay to watch 13 year old Millie Bobby Brown do her thing on Stranger Things and I would definitely pay to watch a 13 year old Barron Trump kick his old man in the balls, sometime in 2019.
Joey Alexander is his name. He's 13. He's from Bali in Indonesia. He was discovered by Wynton Marsalis or Herbie Hancock or some other jazz legend playing the piano by ear. Wow, can this kid play.
Theolonius Monk or John Coltrane can be very difficult to interpret, but this kid does it. The Joey Alexander Trio opened a concert last night here in Omaha with Monk's "Epistrophy", a song that goes all over the place, from sounding just like three musicians making noise to a grooving jazz number and then back to the noise. It really is something that non jazz fans might give up on, but to stick with it is ultimately rewarding. Joey and his two fellow members, bassist Alexander Claffy and drummer extraordinaire Willie Jones III, also tackled Coltrane, gospel songs and original compositions written by the wunderkind. It was a magical evening watching a boy genius and a couple of adult musicians at the top of their game.
Sitting so close to the stage is really the only way to go at jazz concerts. To see the facial expressions and the improv that jazz demands up close cannot be beat. The drumming of Jones was so fascinating to watch. I mean the man had all four extremities going in all directions at once, Whisk drumming with his left hand, keeping rhythm with his right, kicking the bass drum with his right foot and cracking the cymbals with his left foot, Jones may have been the most amazing drummer I have ever seen. Claffy played the upright bass with an intensity that made him shed his sport coat almost immediately and visibly sweat right thru his shirt. They both were fantastic.
But Joey. With an awkward stage presence to go along with the brilliant piano playing, you could not stop realizing this kid is only 13. The brilliant playing, then the stooped over shy banter of a child speaking to a crowd of people put you into discovery mode that you may have been witnessing the start of a legendary career. When he was pounding the ivories, he often stood while playing and made eye contact with his band mates and smiled, kind of like a damn this is fun look.
Yeah Joey. It was fun. Thanks