David Hazeltine: The Classic Trio Meets Eric Alexander (2002)
The selection of tunes is typically inspired, with a balance between originals and standards, although standards are any thing but that after Hazeltine lifts his creative pen and does some handiwork. The pop ditty here (in the lineage of “Betcha By Golly Wow,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” etc.) is Stevie Wonder’s “Knocks Me Off My Feet” and Louis Hayes’ backbeat shuffle sets just the right tone for what sounds like a natural jazz tune. Jimmy Webb’s “Didn’t We” also seems to be so ripe for rediscovery in this context, Alexander’s husky voice literally taking center stage, thanks to Mike Marciano’s luminescent engineering.
Dave’s two original lines are classy and hook-laden affairs that seem to bring out the best in everyone. “On the Boulevard,” in particular, finds Hazeltine and Alexander voicing the melody in a way that is so together they literally seem to breathe as one. Solo space is distributed equitably for all to partake, with “Hayes’ Phase” including a lengthy spot from the drummer. Washington is a model of strength as usual and his bass is recorded with just enough depth to get a ‘bottom’ across but as to not muddy things up entirely. Only one question here really- is a rematch planned for anytime soon?
Track Listing: On the Boulevard, O Grande Amor, Jessica's Night, Hayes' Phase, Knocks Me Off My Feet, East of the Sun, Didn't We, Our Delight
Personnel: David Hazeltine (piano), Peter Washington (bass), Louis Hayes (drums), Eric Alexander (tenor sax)
Record Label: Sharp Nine Records