The sound of a great jazz pianist is nothing if not sophisticated; it certainly don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. But for jazz to count as truly great, there also needs to be wit, harmonic invention, and rhythmic complexity. And an abundance of sophistication is just one of the things that make the 13-year-old Indonesian piano prodigy Joey Alexander so exceptional. This kid was already learning Thelonious Monk’s tricky changes when he was 6, and by the time he was 11, Alexander had a successful album, My Favorite Things, and a score of top-notch adult musicians eager to jam with him.
On Countdown, the new album Alexander dropped just a few weeks ago, his talent speaks louder than ever, and his collaborators include saxophone ace Chris Potter on a dreamy version of the classic Herbie Hancock composition “Maiden Voyage.” Catch Alexander on Sunday, October 16, at 7 p.m. at UCSB’s Campbell Hall. This show features Alexander in a trio format and will no doubt blow the audience away with this very young man’s musicality and personal presence. Call (805) 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.