One for All: Optimism
The band features a three-horn front line of Alexander, Davis, and trumpeter Joe Rotondi, with a rhythm section of David Hazeltine on piano, Joe Farnsworth on drums, and Washington on bass. All are first-rate players and are given plenty of opportunity to shine as soloists, with Alexander and Hazeltine making particularly noteworthy contributions.
The originals include two by Alexander and one each by Rotondi, Hazeltine, and Davis. The standout tunes are Davis' high-energy "Optimism" and trumpeter Rotondi's "The Prevaricator," which recalls, in its title and ferocious style, the 1960s compositions (think "The Sidewinder," "The Procrastinator," "The Rumproller") of hard-bop trumpet giant Lee Morgan. Alexander's "Straight Up" is a free-for-all blowin' session that gives the whole band room to strut its stuff.
For fun, and a decided change of pace, the group also offers a funky, slow groove take on "Stranger in Moscow," a song written by, of all people, Michael Jackson (yes, that Michael Jackson). I guess if Miles could record the gloved one ("Human Nature"), why not...
Record Label: Sharp Nine Records