Young piano player Joey Alexander has an old soul's gift for jazz.

Why you should listen

A native of Bali, Joey Alexander taught himself to play piano by listening to classic jazz albums his father shared with him. Alexander’s father recognized his son’s ear for jazz, and soon he was sitting in on jam sessions with senior musicians. And a (very) few years later, he's playing for worldwide audiences from Jakarta to Copenhagen to Washington, DC.

Influenced by Monk, Coltrane and his mutual fan, Herbie Hancock, Alexander's style is "technically fluent and harmonically astute," says the New York Times, and marked by large-canvas musical ideas -- as seen in a legendary rehearsal-room take on "Giant Steps" in which the shifting chords and dizzy runs fly out from his tiny fingers. His new record, My Favorite Things, was released in 2015.

What others say

“Alexander's solo piano rendition of “’Round Midnight” was magnificent not only for the virtuosity -- plenty of prodigies have outsized chops -- but for the maturity and perception he brought to the Monk standard.” — Jeff Tamarkin, JazzTime

Joey Alexander’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Joey Alexander

Live from TED

Life stories: A recap of the moving talks in Session 5 of TED2015

March 18, 2015

Life stories. Session 5 of TED2015 was dedicated to the kind of personal tales that would make for a great biopic. From the story of two Texans that calls into question what it means to be “American” to a talk from a tech pioneer who founded a software company for women in the 1960s, enjoy our recaps of these […]

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