Monty Alexander, the Jamaican born pianist has fiddled with many genres in creating a buzz for himself. Alexander has explored Bob Marley tributes, as well as ventured to create live albums with various Jamaican musicians, namely reggae legends Sly and Robbie.
Impressions in Blue differs from last year’s release, My America in that the album is solely played by a trio except for three tracks where guitarist John Pizzarelli hops on for the ride.
Furthermore, the album is divided into three main sections, a couple of covers followed by a trio of songs labeled as "Duke’s Reflections" (referring to the work of Duke Ellington), and a then a last section of original compositions followed by a Johnny Mercer, old-west classic which was revamped by Alexander.
Impressions in Blue opens with "Blue Rhapsody," a reworking of Gershwin’s "Rhapsody in Blue," which is basically the United Airlines theme with fast jazz grooves. "En Aranjuez Con tu Amor" is a classical rendition of Rodrigo’s Spanish guitar melody. Miles David had mucked with this cut for several years in Sketches of Spain, though Alexander does this song true justice as he translates guitar to piano note from note and is complimented by heart popping bass courtesy of Hassan Shakur. "Creole Love Call," is a true blues, emotionally drenched number with tear-jerking highs.
The next three songs are from the Ellington Book. "Accompong" reflects Alexander’s true background with its Caribbean jazz sensibility; rhythmic shifts and spicy swinging vibe. "Pointe-A-Pitre" is a tropical journey accompanied with soft sounds and an underlying blues tune.
The following section are labeled as "King Cole Reflections," and features guitarist John Pizzarelli (as mentioned above) who gives the same affect as did guitarist Oscar Moore to King Cole’s trios of the sixties.
In closing this album is a fair continuation of My America and is simple in its existence, yet displays all facets that branch from the talent of Monty’s phalanges