Three-time GRAMMY Award-nominated pianist Joey Alexander follows his major-label debut album, WARNA (Verve Records), with three new singles "SALT" (March 19), "Under the Sun" (April 23), and "Summer Rising" (May 28) set for global release on Verve in spring 2021. In just seven years subsequent the release of five critically-acclaimed studio albums (My Favorite Things, Countdown, Joey.Monk.Live!, Eclipse, WARNA), Alexander leads a career rarely witnessed in the jazz genre. He's garnered international acclaim from mainstream media, three nominations from The Recording Academy, and high praise from legendary jazz icons while evolving into one of today's most distinguished composers and bandleaders.
All before his 18th birthday (summer 2021), Alexander has accrued a lifetime of accolades and experiences a jazz pianist could only dream of being a reality. For Alexander, though, he's met each career highlight with great humility and letting his music speak for itself. Critics have touted Alexander as a genius; a virtuoso; and the youngest artist to reach unimaginable milestones. He's appeared on primetime TV at the 58th GRAMMY Awards (2016); performed with Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding for the Obamas at the White House (International Jazz Day, 2016); sold-out his debut at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall (2019); sold-out the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center; and was profiled by 60 Minutes. A through-line consistent across his prestige remains a steadfast dedication to his craft as a melodic composer captivating the hearts of music fans across the globe.
Alexander's first 2021 single, the track entitled "SALT" lays down a deep groove featuring the pianist on Fender Rhodes for the first time on a recording. He collaborates with his latest trio, including Daniel Winshall (electric and upright bass) and Tyson D. Jackson (drums) who debuted on stage together at the Detroit Jazz Festival 2020. Special guest Jaleel Shaw (alto saxophone) appears on "SALT" and "Summer Rising," and Gilad Hekselman (electric guitar) performs on "SALT."
Alexander comments, "Salt is essential in our lives just like blues is to jazz, and music in general. As we live in a worried world right now, we all need a bit of blues to make us feel good."
The metaphor hits home especially since all of Alexander's newly composed 2021 singles were written while living in Manhattan during the height of the COVID-19 global pandemic in summer 2020. An inspiring force beaming with hope, positivity, and promoting peace through his recordings, Alexander takes us to the roots of jazz where the blues are the key ingredient. "The blues gives us that optimistic spirit. It fills our souls with joy in the darkest hours."
"Under the Sun" reflects Alexander's improvisational dexterity and telepathic connection with his bandmates. The ensemble's interplay on "Under the Sun" is so in sync it's almost as if they're moving in unison as an unstoppable locomotion barreling down the tracks.
"Summer Rising" emulates the beauty of summer in New York City. Upon hearing the simple mention of "summer," the mind wonders to marvel in all of nature's splendor, and it's a time when music typically pours from outdoor stages throughout the world. Alexander offers a glimpse of elation in his harmonic chord changes while Jaleel Shaw and he trade off fervent solos.
Embodying a jaw-dropping mastery of jazz standards, Alexander now sets his sights beyond the break-out successes as a brilliant talent with razor-sharp focus on composing idiosyncratic original works. Alexander's latest recordings are at once highly expressive, emotional, and sincere. 2021 welcomes the thrilling pianist-composer with open arms.