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Feted Jazz Pianist Joey Alexander Releases Verve Debut Album ‘WARNA’

The album captures the joy of music-making that Alexander shares with fellow trio members, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Kendrick Scott.

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Joey Alexander 2020 press shot courtesy Verve Records
Photo courtesy of Verve Records

Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Joey Alexander’s major label debut album WARNA is out today (31) on Verve Records. The title translates as “colour” from the feted musician’s native Bahasa language, and you can watch the video for the lead, title track here:

WARNA showcases a collection of Alexander’s reflective and moving original music, and the video shows his growing confidence as a musician and bandleader. It captures the joy of music-making that he shares with his fellow trio members, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Kendrick Scott. The live clip was filmed in June 2019 at Sear Sound Studios in New York.

The new album will arrive in the wake of four Motéma Music releases that earned Alexander no fewer than three Grammy nominations as well as critics’ and readers’ poll victories in both DownBeat and JazzTimes. Also joining the core piano trio on several tracks on WARNA are Venezuelan-born percussion Luisito Quintero and flautist Anne Drummond.

Alexander’s performance at NPR’s Tiny Desk was acclaimed by the outlet as “a set that ranks among the year’s finest jazz performances at the Tiny Desk. He was also showcased on a 60 Minutes interview and in a Today Show appearance.

The pianist has just announced a run of North American tour dates including shows in Washington, New York, San Francisco and Boston, MA. In July, he will play major international dates at Italy’s Umbria Jazz Festival at Teatro Morlacchi and at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands.

Alexander made a dramatic arrival on the New York jazz scene in the spring of 2014, performing at Jazz at Lincoln Centre’s annual fundraising gala. To an audience containing some of the elite of Manhattan’s arts benefactors, he captivated the audience with his lyrical rendition of ‘’Round Midnight,’ prompting a standing ovation.

The following spring, the New York Times enthused: “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.” Two of Alexander’s four previous albums went on to top the Billboard Jazz Albums chart.

WARNA can be bought here.

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