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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Alexander: Chicago Fire

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When weighing the merits of tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, two words spring readily to mind: prolific and consistent. Alexander, an implacable workhorse even in his mid-40s, has since 1992 recorded no less than thirty-seven albums as leader of his own groups and appeared on many others as a sideman. As for consistency, Alexander has been widely praised, and rightly so, for his awesome technique and seemingly endless reservoir of eye-opening ad libs. In other words, he approaches every theme with the utmost precision and within his sphere has never been known to deliver a solo that is less than earnest ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Alexander: Touching

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Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander has chosen an intriguing title for his latest recording on HighNote Records, as Touching can not only be used as a verb or an adjective, whose meanings differ widely, but in this case is also a blues (by pianist Bobby Lyle), the opening salvo in an album of ballads and blues that lays bare Alexander's warmer side. For those who've grown accustomed to the tenor virtuoso's formidable technique and quicksilver phrases, this may come as a revelation. Even though best known for up-tempo skirmishes Alexander has always been as comfortable among ballads as he is with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Alexander / Vincent Herring: Friendly Fire

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For those who long for the time when hard bop reigned supreme, Blue Note and Prestige Records were riding high, and no-holds-barred saxophone cutting contests and unscripted jam sessions were the order of the day, here's a sure cure for any lament that those days are lost and gone forever. From the opening notes of Friendly Fire, recorded live in August 2011 at the New York City supper club Smoke, the it's clear that the album's principal combatants, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander and altoist Vincent Herring, have donned their gloves and aren't about to let the adversary across the ring ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Alexander: Don't Follow the Crowd

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Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, now well into his forties and no longer the precocious young lion who burst on the New York scene some two decades ago, nevertheless remains the relentless hunter, avidly pursuing--and easily wrestling to the ground--obscure melodies that are beyond the pale of his contemporaries. Such diligence pays dividends again on Don't Follow the Crowd, on which Alexander heeds his own advice by including songs from such seemingly inapt films as The Deer Hunter and Shaft's Big Score! as well as a charming bossa ("Footsteps") by smooth jazz guitarist Steve Briody, a tasteful ballad ("She's Out of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Alexander: Don't Follow the Crowd

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The title of Eric Alexander's Don't Follow the Crowd is somewhat ironic, as it is one in a string of recordings, on the HighNote label, that have all been cast from the same mold. Alexander can be counted on to deliver well-crafted, straight-ahead jazz albums that may not break any new musical ground, but are beautifully played and impeccably recorded, with a selection of swinging blues and ballads. If, perhaps, a little more aggressively played than 2009's Revival of the Fittest (HighNote), this record is, nonetheless, classic Alexander. The quartet is tight, well-rehearsed and clearly a regularly working ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Eric Alexander: Mode for Mabes & Revival of the Fittest

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Eric AlexanderMode for MabesDelmark2009 Eric AlexanderRevival of the FittestHighNote2009 Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander and pianist Harold Mabern first shared a bandstand in public during Alexander's senior year at William Paterson College when Mabern (one of his teachers) invited him to sit in at a local New Jersey club. It was not to be the last time, either in person or in a studio session. These two CDs, recorded 12 years apart, capture the ever-deepening ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Alexander: Eric Alexander Quartet: Chim Chim Cheree

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Chim Chim Cheree has been dubbed “a tribute to John Coltrane." Returning with usual sidemen Harold Mabern at the piano, Joe Farnsworth on drums, and bassist John Webber, this album represents a thorough examination of Coltrane's music made up of Coltrane originals and tunes Coltrane ostensibly owned throughout his career. While George Coleman, Dexter Gordon, and Sonny Stitt are most often cited as the foremost influences on Alexander, Coltrane is clearly among them. Alexander's take on “You Don't Know What Love Is" showcases his lush subtone in the lower register as he cadenzas his way through the ...



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