Two weeks after bringing the audience to their feet at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, jazz prodigy Joey Alexander brought his inspiring and spontaneous show to Grand Cayman.
Joey, just 12 years old, played to a sold-out audience on Feb. 25 as part of the Cayman Arts Festival. The next day he performed for a large group of students.
His first album, “My Favorite Things,” was nominated for a Grammy in two categories: Instrumental Jazz Album and Best Improvised Jazz Solo, making him the youngest-ever nominee in the genre. After being featured on the “60 Minutes” piece “Little Jazz Man” with Anderson Cooper, the album surpassed Adele’s “25” on Amazon’s Best Sellers chart and rose to No. 4 on iTunes Top Albums chart.
Pianist Glen Inanga, senior lecturer at the University College of the Cayman Islands, arranged for Joey to come to Cayman.
“I want to inspire the children, not just to see a prodigy,” he said, “but they need to realize there is no limit to how good you can be based on your age.”
Improvisation was a theme of the performance.
Mr. Inanga asked the audience to choose a song for Joey to see where he would take it. They chose “Happy Birthday.”
Throughout the performance the audience had an opportunity to pepper the young musician with questions, ranging from his favorite instrument other than the piano (the drums), to whether he thinks he is the best pianist in the world (he does not) and where he goes to school (online).
“Improvisation is a fun thing,” Joey told the audience. “It’s not easy though.”