SALT LAKE CITY — Seldom has there been such buzz about a jazz musician like there's been with Joey Alexander.
Alexander, the Jazz SLC concert series' next guest, is 14 years old and has already recorded four albums: the Grammy-nominated “My Favorite Things” (2015) and “Countdown” (2016), “Joey. Monk. Live!” (2017), which honors Thelonious Monk’s work on what would have been his centennial year, and his newest, this year's “Eclipse.”
The Joey Alexander Trio headlines the Jazz SLC show Saturday at the Capitol Theatre.
“In the 23-year history of our concert series I’ve never been so excited to have such talent on our stage,” said Gordon Hanks, director of Jazz SLC.
“We’ve had some of the greatest names in jazz in our series,” he continued. “I’m referring to Gene Harris, Dave Brubeck, Ray Brown, Dianna Krall — and I think Joey Alexander, even at the age of 14, can stand up against any of them. In fact, I’m confident he will have a legacy equal to any of the greats.”
Born in 2003 in Bali, Alexander moved from Jakarta to New York City at age 10. Alexander’s music is neither glitzy nor contrived. Instead, there is a sense of respect for those who came before him balanced against the nuanced phrasing of his compositions. His sense of melody and rhythm are mature and sophisticated. It’s uplifting and fresh, and one gets a sense of his excitement in his work.
Acutely aware of his gift, Alexander realizes just how much his family has sacrificed for him to pursue his craft. On the track “Faithful,” he teamed up with jazz master and legendary tenor saxophonist Josh Redman to offer appreciation to his parents' selfless devotion.
When visiting with Alexander, it’s easy to forget that one is talking to a 14-year old boy. He’s almost reluctant to talk about himself. For him, the music is what really matters. He’s shy and quiet, but when the subject turns to jazz, it is a completely different conversation.
When asked over email why he would take on the legendary work of Monk and Coltrane, he didn’t hesitate: “I love playing and rearranging their music. It’s so spiritual to me and that is what jazz is. There’s such an uplifting feel to their music, it just gives me great joy.”
If you go …
What: GAM Foundation/JazzSLC presents the Joey Alexander Trio
Where: Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South
When: Saturday, March 31, 7:30 p.m.
How much: $34.50 for adults, $10 for students with I.D.
Phone: 801-355-2787, 888-451-2787