Monty Alexander featuring Ernest Ranglin – Rass!

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Jamaican Monty Alexander is a man with two musical faces: many know him best as a piano virtuoso and heir to Oscar Peterson’s thrown. On Rass he is a master of electric keyboard jazz-funk heavily seasoned by the musical spices of his homeland. Recorded in Kingston in 1974 with ace local players, Rass features the legendary Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin, one of the musicians who helped mold the sound known as ska. Alexander covers two Al Greene soul classics, Let’s Stay Together and Love and Happiness. They mirror the sex and soul of the originals as well as dish out a taste of the island. Sly Mongoose, Yellow Bird, and Limbo are traditional Caribbean melodies played funky with calypso-reggae-ska inflections. Alexander and Ranglin exhibit effortless give-and-take interspersed with exploratory solos over a funky foundation. By the way, rass is an all-purpose Jamaican expletive: “Rass, dot som funky music, mon”.

Rass! may be the most uncommon of all of the pianist’s recordings, but it is one of his most iconic. In the relaxed proceedings, one can actually hear that all of these players had known each other for decades by the time of this session. Their instinctive, egoless conversation, aided by simple, canny charts and expressive, unguarded joy, makes Rass! one of Alexander’s finest and most enduring albums to boot.” – Thom Jurek/AllMusic.

Track listing:

A1 – 0:00 – Let’s Stay Together
A2 – 9:30 – Sly Mongoose
A3 – 14:23 – Love And Happiness
B1 – 19:46 – Knowing That We Were Meant For Each Other
B2 – 23:44 – Yellow Bird
B3 – 29:38 – Limbo


Bass – Jackie Jackson
Congas – Noel Seale
Drums – Sparrow Martin
Electric Piano – Monty Alexander
Guitar – “Trini” Clarence Wears, Ernest Ranglin
Percussion – Denzil “Pops” Laing


Label: MPS Records – MC 25352
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1974