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Joey Alexander on God, the GRAMMY's and on not trying to out-Monk Monk / Colorado Springs INDY Q&A

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Colorado Springs INDY - Bill Forman writes…..An old soul lives within the 18-year-old body of Joey Alexander. Unlike many of us at the dawn of 2022, Joey Alexander isn’t trying to make up for lost time, mainly because he hasn’t had all that much of it to lose.

In the years since his 2014 Jazz at Lincoln Center debut, the Indonesian-born pianist performed his own composition during the 2016 Grammy telecast, recorded four acclaimed albums for the Harlem-based Motéma records and a fifth for Verve, and over the past year released a trio of singles that includes the George Floyd-inspired “Under the Sun” and an unexpectedly genre-leaping blues-fusion track called “SALT.”

What makes this all the more impressive is the fact that Alexander only recently turned 18.

On his 2015 debut album My Favorite Things, the self-taught pianist mainly focused on jazz standards like John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” Thelonious Monk’s “Round Midnight” and Dizzy Gillespie’s “Tour de Force.” The album made it to No. 59 on Billboard’s Top 200, making him the first Indonesian artist in the publication’s 127-year history to reach the Top 200.

On Wednesday, Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m., Alexander will play Denver's Newman Center for the Performing Arts. We caught up with Alexander recently to talk about performing at the Grammys, the role of spirituality in his music, and the importance of playing Michael Jackson every day.