Eric Alexander: The First Milestone
Alexander’s sheer joy in making music comes through loud and clear on several cuts, most notably the jaunty “Night Song,” and a funky version of “I’m Glad There Is You,” which is reminiscent of the sounds made during his tenure in the band of Hammond B3 organist Charles Earland. On both tunes, the liberties he takes on the melodies are as interesting as his improvised solos. “Last Night When We Were Young” gets a ballad treatment and doesn’t stray very far from that vein even when the tempo doubles in the middle of Alexander’s solo. “34 Was Sweetness,” a deliberate, virile stroll, is a fitting tribute to the late Walter Payton.
The contrasting solo approaches of Martino and Mabern are important to the success of the disc. Although Martino appears on only four of the eight tracks, his impeccable single-note lines swing quietly but intensely. Mabern plays with an odd combination of abandon and delicacy, and even at its most restrained, his playing has a startling momentum.
Track List:Stand Pat; 34 Was Sweetness (For Walter Payton); The First Milestone; The Towering Inferno; Night Song; Last Night When We Were Young; The Phineas Trane; I’m Glad There Is You.
Personnel: Eric Alexander
Record Label: Fantasy Jazz