“Usually, when a 13-year-old prodigy like pianist Joey Alexander performs, the focus is on the wow factor — how can this little guy play so fast?
But the uncanny thing about Alexander’s sold-out Jazz Alley debut Tuesday night (Sept. 13) was that the music was so thoroughly engrossing you kept having to remind yourself that it was being played by a child.
Dressed in a brown sports jacket and blue-and-white check shirt, the slight young Indonesian pianist delivered an hourlong set that ranged from Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane to a two-song tribute to Seattle-bred music master Quincy Jones. It was clear very quickly why Alexander has already performed at the Newport Jazz Festival and at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Unlike many young players, Alexander did not seem to take his inspiration from the zigzag, virtuoso lines of bebop, but rather from vamps, rhythmic figures, moods and colors, building his solos up to dense, stormy climaxes.“