Child prodigy ded­i­cates life to all that jazz

In­done­sian jazz pi­ano prodigy re­leases de­but CD at 11 years old 印尼十一歲天才爵士鋼琴手發行首張專輯

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

Joey Alexander's fa­vorite things in­clude the Avengers, SpongeBob and Amer­i­can jazz pi­anist Th­elo­nious Monk. He's a nor­mal 11- year- old kid who just hap­pens to be a jazz pi­ano prodigy from In­done­sia and has al­ready im­pressed such jazz lu­mi­nar­ies as Wyn­ton Marsalis and Her­bie Han­cock. Re­cently, Alexander re­leased his de­but CD, "My Fa­vorite Things," mak­ing a state­ment on the open­ing track with a 10- minute- plus ver­sion of John Coltrane's har­mon­i­cally chal­leng­ing "Gi­ant Steps." He also dis­plays a sen­si­tive touch on bal­lads such as Billy Stray­horn's "Lush Life" and Monk's "'Round Mid­night" Not only did he ar­range all the tunes, but he also wrote an orig­i­nal com­po­si­tion, "Ma Blues," in­spired by Bobby Tim­mons' jazz clas­sic "Moanin'."

"For me jazz is a call­ing. I love jazz be­cause it's about free­dom to ex­press your­self and be­ing spon­ta­neous, full of rhythm and full of im­pro­vi­sa­tion," said the mop-topped pi­anist, who is only around 140-cen­time­ters-tall and weighs about 36 kilo­grams. "Tech­nique is im­por­tant, but for me first when I play it's from the heart and feel­ing the groove," said the jazz prodigy.

Alexander made his U.S. de­but in May 2014 at Jazz at Lin­coln Cen­ter's (JALC) an­nual gala where per­formed a solo ver­sion of "'Round Mid­night." Marsalis, JALC's artis­tic direc­tor, brought him over from In­done­sia af­ter a friend in­sisted that he watch a YouTube clip of the 10-year-old per­form­ing tunes by Coltrane, Monk and Chick Corea. "There has never been any­one that you can think of who could play like that at his age," Marsalis said. "I loved ev­ery­thing about his play­ing — his rhythm, his con­fi­dence, his un­der­stand­ing of the mu­sic."

Alexander, whose par­ents are Chris­tians, at­tributes his unique tal­ent as be­ing "a gift from God." Born in Bali, Alexander be­gan play­ing pi­ano at the age of 6 when his fa­ther, an am­a­teur pi­anist and gui­tarist, brought home a mini elec­tric key­board. Alexander im­me­di­ately be­gan pick­ing out the melody of Monk's "Well, You Needn't" and other stan­dards by ear from lis­ten­ing to his fa­ther's jazz col­lec­tion.

His fa­ther gave him some lessons, and soon his son started jamming with lo­cal mu­si­cians. His par­ents gave up their adventure tour busi­ness and moved to Jakarta so he could play with In­done­sia's top jazz mu­si­cians. At age 8, Alexander had the op­por­tu­nity to play for his hero, Han­cock, at a UNESCO event in Jakarta. Alexander says Han­cock's en­cour­age­ment led him "to ded­i­cate" him­self to jazz.

喚。我愛爵士,因為它給了我表達自我的自由,也讓我感受

到一股隨性自在,全身充滿節奏感,帶給我滿滿的創作靈

感。」這個爵士小天才還說:「技巧雖然重要,但對我而

言,彈琴時首先要發自內心,去感覺這股律動。」

二○一四年五月,在美國初登場的亞歷山大在林肯中

心爵士樂演奏廳的年度秀中獨自演奏〈午夜時分〉。林肯 中心爵士樂演奏廳藝術總監馬沙利斯的一位朋友堅稱他在YouTube 上看到十歲的亞歷山大演奏柯川、孟克和柯瑞亞等人的樂曲,在那之後,他就被馬沙利斯從印尼帶到美國。馬

沙利斯說:「你永遠也想不到,有人在他那個年紀可以彈得

這麼好。他的演奏深得我心,包括節奏、自信和他對音樂的

理解。」

亞歷山大的父母都是基督徒,他們將他獨特的天份形容

為「上帝賜予的禮物」。亞歷山大出生於峇里島,六歲時,

身為業餘鋼琴家和吉他手的父親帶回一台小型電子琴,於是

他就開始彈琴了。很快地,他藉著聆聽父親所收集的爵士

樂,已經開始聽出孟克〈你不需要〉的旋律和其他樂曲的組

成元素。

亞歷山大的父親替他上了幾堂課,而他很快就融入當地

音樂家的圈子之中。為了讓他可以和印尼其他頂尖的爵士音

樂家一起彈奏,他的父母還放棄了自己的事業,並且搬到雅

加達去。聯合國教科文組織在雅加達所舉辦的一場活動中,

八歲的亞歷山大獲得了為他的偶像漢考克演奏的機會。他

說,漢考克的鼓勵讓他決心為爵士樂「奉獻自我」。

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