Love You Madly – Live at Bubba’s is a 13-track, 92-minute double album featuring Jazz pianist Monty Alexander. Accompanying Alexander on this spirited live date are bassist Paul Berner (Lionel Hampton Orchestra), drummer Duffy Jackson (Milt Jackson, Benny Carter), and percussionist Robert Thomas, Jr. (Weather Report, Jaco Pastorius, Carlos Santana). It has been converted from the Original Analog Master Tape to DSD and DXD by 2xHD Mastering in partnership with Resonance Records.
Drawn from Alexander’s personal collection, the vigorous, imaginative performances on Love You Madly were recorded at the titular Fort Lauderdale, Florida nightclub on August 6, 1982. The recording engineer was the late Mack Emerman, legendary founder of Miami’s Criteria Recording Studios, the state-of-the-art facility where the Bee Gees, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers Band, and Aretha Franklin, among many others, had cut some of their biggest hits.
The Kingston, Jamaica-born keyboardist had lived in Miami since his family moved there in 1961, and had known Emerman, a Jazz buff who had played trumpet in his alma mater Duke University’s big band, for many years.
Alexander recalls in a new interview with Resonance Records co-president and Jazz Detective Zev Feldman, “Mack just had this idea, ‘Hey, can I come and record you? I’ll bring the truck.’ He already had a remote truck [unit]. So, he brought the truck and he put the mic on the bass and the drums, and the whole thing, and, son of a gun, this tape, which he gave to me, was all a gift.”
In his overview essay, Jazz historian Willard Jenkins says of the resultant recording, “For this date at Bubba’s, Monty Alexander drew up neatly balanced set lists that touched upon several facets of his expansive bag, including standards, ballads, blues, island perspectives and southern exposures ranging as far south as Brazil. Love You Madly provides a wonderful survey of the leader’s gifts and his enormous rhythmic palette on the wings of his consummate piano artistry.”
Hearing this album, you’ll agree with pianist Christian Sands who says: “Listening to Monty is like eating a great meal made by a master chef. He musically cooks with the grits and gravy of the blues, adds the smokiness of NYC swing, all while simmering in the rich island flavors of his Jamaican roots. He satisfies all of the senses and leaves you wanting to hear more.”
Monty Alexander – Piano
Paul Berner – Bass
Duffy Jackson – Drums
Robert Thomas Jr. – Percussion
Total time: 01:31:47
2xHD Mastering: René Laflamme
|Original Recording Format|
George Klabin and Zev Feldman
Bubba's Jazz Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (August 6, 1982)
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||December 4, 2020|
South Florida jazz fans of a certain age have fond recollections of Bubba’s, a Fort Lauderdale nightspot that attracted jazz giants such as Ahmad Jamal, Sonny Stitt, and Carmen McRae. Pianist Monty Alexander, who had moved to Miami from his native Kingston, Jamaica, as a teenager, was already an international star when he played the room with his quartet in 1982. Fortunately, the performances were captured on tape by Criteria Studios founder Mac Emmerman, the music comprising the new double-album release Love You Madly: Live at Bubba’s (2xHD-Resonance).
Culled from Alexander’s own collection, the album reveals the pianist at the peak of his powers. He delves into a wide-ranging set that dips into Jazz and Brazilian standards, Blues, and Reggae. Each expertly evinced by the pianist and his group.
Doubling down on rhythm, Alexander is supported by drummer Duffy Jackson and percussionist Bobby Thomas Jr. (of Weather Report fame) as well as superb bassist Paul Berner, who had played with Lionel Hampton. Alexander has long been among the most engaging of performers, honing his communicative skills with audiences at hotels, bars, and restaurants throughout South Florida.
That charm is evident from the jump, as the pianist kicks off the set with an instrumental read of “Arthur’s Theme,” the hit from the then-new movie. Alexander and his rhythm team start out with loungey, laid-back swing, before taking improvisational flight into the Caribbean and Latin America for a heart-racing finish.
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