When you hear this astounding young talent play with such a depth of feeling on Thelonious Monk’s “Pannonica” or “‘Round Midnight,” demonstrate such an adroit touch on John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” or Monk’s “Evidence,” and play with such soulfulness on Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin’” or sheer beauty on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” it will make you believe in reincarnation.

Since coming to the United States in 2014, the response to Joey has been astonishing. The Bali-born 14-year old has experienced one of the most rapidly ascendant careers in jazz history. Since releasing his chart-topping albums, My Favorite Things (2015) and eagerly-awaited follow up, Countdown (2016), the wunderkind has earned accolades from the industry, critics and fans alike. His combined three Grammy Award nominations make him the youngest jazz artist ever nominated for a Grammy. His remarkable rise has earned him appearances on The Today Show, CNN and the Grammy Award telecast as well as profiled by Anderson Cooper for CBS’ popular long-running show, 60 Minutes. Alexander returns to the Exit Zero Jazz Festival for his third appearance, having previously performed at both the 2015 and 2016 Festivals.

Born on June 25, 2003 on the island of Bali, Alexander originally learned about jazz from his father who exposed young Joey to a variety of classic albums from his extensive collection. At the age of six, Joey began teaching himself to play piano using a mini electronic keyboard given to him by his father. He was immediately able to pick out the melody of Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t,” but he didn’t stop there. Joey’s dad nurtured his gift of swing and improvisation by taking him to jam sessions with veteran musicians in Bali and Jakarta. Joey’s musicianship and grasp of jazz fundamentals developed at a remarkable pace, and by age eight he was invited by UNESCO to play solo piano for an elated Herbie Hancock during the piano great’s visit to Indonesia. Joey later remarked to Hancock, “You told me that you believed in me, and that was the day I decided to dedicate my childhood to jazz.”

At age nine, Alexander won the grand prize at the first Master-Jam Fest, an all-ages competition in Ukraine which included 200 competitors from 17 countries. 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. There followed a performance at George Wein’s prestigious Newport Jazz Festival and appearances at major festivals across the United States and around the globe, including Tel Aviv, Marciac, Montréal, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Bern, Prague, Vienna, Perugia, and his native Indonesia. Feature interviews for The Today Show and 60 Minutes along with stories in The New York Times and leading jazz publications and appearances on the 58th annual Grammy Awards broadcast and at a star-studded televised White House gala in 2016 brought Joey a greater level of public notoriety. His 2015 debut album for Motéma Music, My Favorite Things, garnered two Grammy Award nominations for “Best Jazz Instrumental Album” and “Best Improvised Solo” for his performance of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”, making him the youngest jazz artist ever nominated for a Grammy. His highly-anticipated sophomore album, 2016’s Countdown revealed further growth as a player and composer. His latest is Joey. Monk. Live!, a document of a trio performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Appel Room in June of 2017.


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