JOEY ALEXANDER MAKES HIS MAJOR LABEL DEBUT WITH, WARNA, OUT TODAY
“[Alexander] is constantly adding to his improvising playbook, incorporating new moves into an increasingly seamless expression, and fleshing out what was already an impressively ambidextrous piano style." - The New York Times
“It’s time everybody stopped calling him a child prodigy. … Based on all available evidence, Alexander has been easing into his maturity, without losing a crucial sense of play.” - WBGO
31 JANUARY 2020 (TORONTO, ON) –Today, Joey Alexander, the Grammy-nominated jazz pianist, composer and bandleader releases his major label debut album WARNA via Verve Records/Universal Music Canada, the country's leading music company. WARNA captures the astonishing melodic gift and natural aptitude for spontaneous collaboration that the gifted pianist has quickly developed and showcases Alexander’s musical prowess as he stylistically and seamlessly incorporates his influences from Gospel, Latin music and more. You can listen to the album here.
A collection of new interpretations and original music by an experienced and confident musician, WARNA unfolds like entries in a road journal. The title track, “Mosaic (of Beauty)” and “Our Story” are testament to the shared joys of music-making. Alexander got the inspiration for “Lonely Streets,” a tribute to America’s forgotten corners and quiet small towns, while traveling from a gig in upstate New York to his home in Manhattan. The tunes “Downtime” and “We Here” were written to honor those special moments that occur off the concert stage, exploring new cities or just hanging out with family and friends. The spiritually tinged tracks “Tis Our Prayer” is rooted in the pre-performance ritual that Alexander partakes in with his bandmates, a prayer offering thanks for the opportunity to share music with the audience and “The Light,” Alexander explains, was forged to bring “blessings of hope, courage and joy to people who listen,” especially those in need of healing. Additional tracks that highlight both Alexander’s dynamism as an interpreter and his veneration of masters across genres include a cover of Sting’s 1988 hit “Fragile” and Joe Henderson’s classic standard “Inner Urge.”
Translating as “color” from Alexander’s native language of Bahasa, WARNA follows four Motéma Music albums that garnered the pianist three Grammy nominations and such honors as historic critics’ and readers’ poll victories in DownBeat and JazzTimes. Joining Alexander on the new album are bassist, Larry Grenadier, and percussionist Kendrick Scott - who comprise the core piano trio. On several tracks, Venezuelan-born percussionist Luisito Quintero, and flautist Anne Drummond, join the talented jazz pianist-composer.
Watch A Live Performance Of The Title Track "Warna” On WBGO’s Morning Jazz.
WARNA – Tracklist:
- Mosaic of Beauty
- Lonely Streets
- Affirmation I
- Inner Urge
- We Here
- Tis Our Prayer
- Our Story
- Affirmation III
- The Light
Alexander continues to captivate fans and critics alike. His performance at NPR’s Tiny Desk, was heralded by the outlet as “a set that ranks among the year's finest jazz performances at the Tiny Desk” and his undeniable talent was showcased on a 60 Minutes interview and a Today Show appearance.
Alexander’s live performances have been enthusiastically received and his North American tour dates include Washington, DC, New York, NY, San Francisco, CA, and Boston, MA. Additionally, in July he will have two major overseas dates, in Italy at the Umbria Jazz Festival at Teatro Morlacchi and in the Netherlands at the North Sea Jazz Festival.
Alexander arrived in New York as a lightning bolt in the spring of 2014, performing at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s annual fundraising gala. At the helm of a packed-out theater containing some of Manhattan’s most elite arts benefactors, Alexander amazed the audience with a remarkably lyrical rendition of “’Round Midnight.” A standing ovation ensued, and Alexander hasn’t slowed down since. The following spring, the New York Times wrote in an enthusiastic profile that “For a jazz pianist, the mastery entails a staggering breadth of knowledge about harmony, rhythm and orchestration, all converging in an eloquent synthesis. Joey Alexander has a handle on a good deal of that.” From there, he went on to receive three Grammy nominations, with two of Alexander’s four previous albums topping the Billboard Jazz Albums chart.