• en
  • fr

Joey Alexander

Joey Alexander


Born June 25, 2003 on the island of Bali, pianist Joey Alexander originally learned about jazz from his
father, who introduced his son to a variety of classic jazz, gospel, classical, rock, and pop albums. Joey’s
dad nurtured his gift of swing and improvisation by taking him to jam sessions with professional
musicians in Bali, Jakarta, and Odessa, Ukraine. His musicianship and grasp of jazz fundamentals
developed at a remarkable pace, and at age eight UNESCO invited him to play solo piano for an elated
Herbie Hancock during the piano great’s visit to Indonesia.

By 10, he was performing at jazz festivals in both Jakarta and Copenhagen. An invitation from Wynton
Marsalis led to his U.S. debut appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall in 2014, where he amazed
the audience with his musicality. This was followed by appearances before the Jazz Foundation of
America at the Apollo and the Arthur Ashe Learning Center at Gotham Hall. Realizing God’s gift to Joey
and wishing to encourage its continued development, the family relocated to the United States.
In 2015 received an invitation from impresario George Wein to perform on two stages at the prestigious
Newport Jazz Festival. Joey took full advantage of the opportunity and brought audiences to their feet
with his playful musicality and keen sense of swing. Joey performed twice at the 2016 GRAMMY Awards,
including a solo performance of his original tune City Lights during the live broadcast, collaborated with
Esperanza Spaulding and Wayne Shorter at the White House for International Jazz Day, performed and
recorded My Favorite Things with singer Kelsea Ballerini for the CMA Country Christmas broadcast, and
has been featured in numerous programs with Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.

Over the past four years Joey has been paying his dues and honing his craft: learning what it means to
be a bandleader, keeping material fresh after repeated performances, and seeking out sidemen who are
also collaborators. Along the way, The Joey Alexander Trio has performed at well-known venues and
major festivals across the United States and around the globe.
At the age of 14, Joey has already recorded two GRAMMY-nominated studio albums, 2015’s My Favorite
Things and 2016’s Countdown, as well as Joey.Monk.Live!, a critically acclaimed surprise release from
late 2017 to honor Thelonious Monk’s centennial. His third studio effort Eclipse features the pianist with
a stellar rhythm section including bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland, and guest
appearances by saxophonist Joshua Redman on three tracks.

Eclipse, recorded over a three-day period beginning on the day of the solar eclipse of 2017, features the
pianist with a stellar rhythm section of bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland, and guest
appearances by saxophonist Joshua Redman on three tracks. The program ranges from jazz classics
penned by John Coltrane and Bill Evans, to the Beatles’ hit “Blackbird”, and a reverent gospel
reimagining of the 1875 hymn “Draw Me Nearer.” Most importantly though, Eclipse showcases
Alexander’s significant progress as an astute composer, writing six of the eleven tunes.
As a pianist, Alexander is neither flashy nor bombastic. He approaches the instrument with discipline, as
heard on the opening track “Bali,” playing subtly and gently in some stretches with delicate harmonies,
playful and scampering in others as he displaces rhythms. He also possesses an elemental sense of
melody, as heard on the final track, an original titled “Peace,” exhibiting the patience and instinct to get
his melodic statements just right. “I’ve learned how to be a good listener,” Alexander says.
Alexander is joined by tenor titan Joshua Redman on the originals “Faithful,” about the sacrifices and
challenges he and his family have faced in pursuit of his art, and “Fourteen,” written on his birthday, and
a nod to the number’s significance in biblical deliverance. Alexander and Redman also explore a pensive
duo take on Ray Nobel’s 1934 timeless ballad, “The Very Thought of You.”

As on his previous studio dates, Alexander returned to the well of Coltrane with his upbeat take on the harmonic twists and turns of “Moment’s Notice” from the master’s 1957 album Blue Train. “I love
playing Coltrane because he’s so spiritual to me,” Alexander says. “That to me is what jazz is. There’s an
uplifting feel to his songs, and I try to put my own take on it.”
The tour-de-force centerpiece to the album is the 10-minute “Eclipse,” that is a spin through the
reflective and the dramatic with the pianist in drive mode. Just after the band took a studio break to
view the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, producer Olaine suggested that the trio play free and see
where the music would go. The result ended up as the centerpiece of the album, the 10-minute tour-deforce,
“It was totally unprepared,” Alexander says. “After we saw the eclipse, we came back to the studio and
just started playing without talking. I’m thankful to God that I had the confidence and courage to do this.
But it’s also about how much we trust each other. I knew they’d be with me even though you don’t
know where you’re going to go on the journey. It’s all about exploring the new.”
Olaine notes, “This was an amazing experience for a young artist to embrace the unknown the way Joey

With the release of Eclipse, Joey Alexander has created an ever more personal and powerful statement
of his musical and artistic vision. His work continues to draw from his inspirations of the past, as well as
his faith, bandmates, and the people, places and events he encounters, all while putting his own
progressive stamp on the music by constantly exploring, both on stage and in the studio.