Oscar Peterson’s Drummer Alvin Queen Awaits the Wheels of Justice and Continues to Create America’s Music with Chart-topping New CD "OP" Dedicated to Peterson
Legendary drummer Alvin Queen continues to create America’s music with his new CD "OP", dedicated to Peterson, as he awaits justice for losing his right to enter the United States. The wheels of justice are said to move slow but after a year, Alvin Queen’s 01B form continues to sit at The American Embassy. A sort of mute road marker for Queen who has given so much to America’s music. Having served in a series of prestigious bands before moving to Europe he always combined the two worlds, the country where he came from and Europe where he flourishes.
In addition, he also served as a U.S. State Department cultural ambassador, touring Brazil, Africa, and Japan. A similar role previously held by Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, and Dizzy Gillespie. Despite the judicial hierarchy that Alvin Queen has endured this past year, his current CD entitled “OP”, dedicated to Oscar Peterson, shows that you can’t stop a master from sharing his talent with the world.
Queen, is a Swiss citizen, his growing reputation and experience allowed him to deepen his ties to the thriving jazz community abroad. Alvin made the decision to join the many expatriate musicians and eventually settled in Switzerland obtaining dual citizenship, which he held for thirty years. Alvin had always paid his taxes before giving up his dual citizenship and chose to switch to a single passport to simplify his tax situation resulting in having to relinquish his American citizenship in 2016. Up until this time, Alvin had been issued six new passports over the past half a century with no issues arising and had traveled to the states several times.
As the current political climate evolved, Queen found that the new laws caused him to apply for a 01B work visa which became necessary permissions due to the new travel ban. A youthful offense from half a century ago was unearthed. These minor offense records were supposed to be sealed. All of this information was uncovered when Alvin was asked to perform at a program sponsored by the French- American Cultural Foundation entitled “Jazz Meets France”. It had an impressive pedigree, with Wynton Marsalis serving as honorary chairman and sponsored by the French-American Cultural Foundation with The Smithsonian Institute’s Dr. David Skorton as master of ceremonies.
The program was intended to commemorate the centennial of the United States entry into the first world war. The other important thing being commemorated in this cultural event were the Harlem Hell fighter’s appearance in France, (369th infantry regiment) band was also a large factor in the introduction of jazz to France. Also helping to spread this art-form was the American G.I’s.
Queen takes his musical history seriously and understands that with the new government in place in America that it may take some time to rectify.In the meantime, Alvin moved forward by paying homage to his friend of many years Oscar Peterson, with his new CD 'OP' which is a sincere dedication to the many musical memories they shared along their journey together.
“Jazz has always been about freedom with unlimited possibilities and potential and that is why I keep traveling the world sharing its message” says Queen. Alvin’s new CD and LP ‘OP’ has been climbing the jazz charts and is at #44 and growing.
The project is distributed through Diskunion https://diskunion.net/jazz/ct/detail/1007833049and can be purchased on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Op-Peterson-Alvin-Queen-Trio/dp/B07MTYH14F/ref=sr_1_1keywords=Alvin+Queen+OP&qid=1552890938&s=gateway&sr=8-1.
To read an article that goes deeper into the history of Alvin Queen go to https://alvinqueen.com to learn more.
In addition, to hear Alvin's positive attitude on being successful as a child coming up in America go to https://vimeo.com/ondemand/alvinqueen.
Alvin Queen Trio – OP a tribute to Oscar PetersonAvailable February 22, 2019
Beyond their professional relationship as bandmates, Oscar Peterson and Alvin Queen were also good friends. Thus, this tribute to the great pianist is a heartbeat for the drummer who played with bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen in Oscar Peterson’s famous trio during the coda of Peterson’s life. That Alvin Queen has chosen to record in collaboration with two Danish musicians speaks volumes about the musical level of pianist Zier Romme and bassist Ida Hvid.
After a long and active life in jazz service, Queen, the 67-year-old drummer who has played with an impressive list of jazz giants, knows what he’s doing. Romme, the 26-year-old Peterson-inspired virtuoso, has already gained great recognition on the Nordic jazz scene with his undeniable talent and impressively mature playing, despite his young age. 38-year-old Ida Hvid (known from Niels Jørgen Steen’s Monday Night Big Band, among other projects) is now a pioneer on the frontiers of contemporary European jazz. This trio constellation is a unique meeting between the seasoned and young, where all three play with the same goal and purpose: creating classical chamber jazz as the master himself cultivated it – outgoing, sparkling, groovy, dynamic, swinging, soulful, and melodic music taken from OP’s extensive repertoire.
The word “tribute” is defined as “an act, statement, or gift that is intended to show gratitude, respect, or admiration.” Alvin Queen created this powerful musical statement as a gift to my Dad showing his deep gratitude for the time they were able to spend together performing all over the world. His admiration for Dad was always shown during the time they spent together, not just on the bandstand, but backstage, at restaurants, in hotel rooms, and airports, where they would share cherished moments of conversation and laughter. The respect that Alvin had for Dad as a man and, of course, for the music they performed is shown not only in this project but in how he has taken the lessons he learned while they were on the road together and applied them to his own career.
Alvin has worked with the best of the best in terms of musicians considered to be “jazz legends” and as a result has earned his spot as one of the most in-demand players in the industry. This is something that Alvin does not take lightly, and he has worked for years to maintain the dignity and respect in this music that those before him worked so hard for. To me, Alvin is a friend, an Uncle, and a cherished confidant with whom I have nothing but fondness for.
Alvin came into Dad’s group during what would end up being our last years of touring, and while there were many challenges and difficulties, we always maintained that we were a family and the band did much more than support Dad on stage. They supported both my parents and project in whatever ways we needed, both on and off the road.My love for Alvin is never-ending and I am grateful to him for bringing this project to life and for sharing with us music from a formative piece of his musical journey. This CD is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life, as I will my relationship with Alvin. Dear Alvin, thank you for this beautiful physical presentation of the true definition of the word “tribute.”
All my love,