Eric Alexander / Vincent Herring: Friendly Fire (2012)
The swift, full-throttle skirmishes (Hank Mobley's "Pat 'n' Chat," McCoy Tyner's "Inception") are interspersed with opulent ballads that give each of the front-liners a chance to show his warm and gentle side (Herring on "You've Changed," Alexander on the Nat "King" Cole classic, "Mona Lisa"). And even though these gentlemen can play the blues (Mobley's "Dig Dis" is an explicit case in point), it's clear that no one has the blues on a session that is genial and sunny from start to finish. Completing the program are the familiar "Here's That Rainy Day" (taken at a faster-than-usual tempo), a surprise Japanese pop hit from half a century ago, "Sukiyaki," and Herring's closing ballad, "Timothy."
Not only are Alexander and Herring carrying on the tradition, they are among the most resourceful and enterprising saxophonists on the scene today. Alexander has yet to sculpt a solo that is less than persuasive, while Herring is irrepressibly candid in the manner of one of his main influences, the great Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. As for LeDonne, Webber and Allen, suffice to say the co-leaders couldn't have done it without them. This is a rhythm section that any captain would be pleased to have as his (or her) crew. Whenever Alexander or Herring makes a sharp and unexpected turn, he can rest assured that everyone else is in step and ready for whatever comes next. While this live session may awaken memories of days gone by, it's as stylish and inventive as today.
Track Listing: Pat ‘n’ Chat; Sukiyaki; Inception; Dig Dis; You’ve Changed; Here’s That Rainy Day; Mona Lisa; Timothy.
Personnel: Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone; Vincent Herring: alto saxophone; Mike LeDonne: piano; John Webber: bass; Carl Allen: drums.
Record Label: HighNote Records