Last week, jazz wunderkind, Joey Alexander, released his highly-anticipated debut solo album, My Favorite Things, on Motéma Records. I previewed his music last month on Rhythm Planet. This Balinese 11-year-old has been making major headlines and has caught the attention of all the jazz giants: Wynton Marsalis and Herbie Hancock to name just a few. Even former president Bill Clinton is a fan.
Like them, I am completely blown away by Joey Alexander, not because—well, partly because—he’s so young, but mostly because of his creative power and mastery of the piano. His subtlety, delicate shading, pedal work, harmonic progressions, and lyrical invention put him on the same pedestal as the much older, seasoned masters.
What’s remarkable is that this exceptional young boy has had no formal music education. Growing up on the Indonesian island of Bali, he was far, far away from any sort of jazz scene, his only influences being his father’s jazz CDs. By age six, Joey found his place at the piano and began making his way through Thelonious Monk’s pieces. With some rudimentary piano lessons from his father and two years of practice under his belt, Joey performed for Herbie Hancock at the age of eight. Last year, Joey was invited by Wynton Marsalis to perform as a guest star for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s annual gala in New York.
So what’s next for this amazing child prodigy? Next month, he’s scheduled to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival, in addition to several east coast shows during the fall. I blow my horn and tip my hat to 11-year-old Joey Alexander. I hope we’ll have the chance to see him perform sometime soon here in Los Angeles.
Prepare to be blown away. Joey Alexander’s album teaser for My Favorite Things.
Joey’s own original composition, “experiencing: Jazz @ Lincoln Center.”