In developing their own sound, many jazz groups borrow from other musical genres — salsa, bossa nova, high life, hip-hop, rap, rock, funk, classical. But only one man has blended jazz with reggae — Monty Alexander.

Even though Alexander’s first band, Monty and the Cyclones, put several hits on the Jamaican charts in the late ’50s, he left his home in Kingston to pursue a career in jazz in the United States. There, he played and recorded with the top musicians on the scene and developed a piano style that was somewhere between Oscar Peterson and Gene Harris. He played with a quick, delicate touch that was still soulful and could swing very, very hard.

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