130

Ray Alexander: Down to Earth

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
There is one “smooth jazz” radio station here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the music in trumpeter Ray Alexander’s debut album, Down to Earth, would be right at home on the playlist. Not, as Seinfeld would say, that there’s anything wrong with that. But it must be noted that smooth jazz, with its syrupy melodic contrivances, tedious rhythmic patterns and irksome synthetic props, is definitely an acquired taste, one that I’ve thus far managed to elude.

Alexander, on the other hand, seems to have come to it naturally, having worked in the showrooms of various Las Vegas hotels accompanying pop stars Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, Robert Goulet, Lou Rawls, Mitzi Gaynor, Julio Iglesias, Natalie Cole and many others, toured with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the Temptations, the Spinners, Mary Wilson and Harry Connick Jr., and served as horn contractor and interim music director for the Four Tops. He may be a fine trumpeter, but one could never verify the assumption by listening to this hodgepodge, on which his horn is ordinarily submerged beneath a rising tide of acoustic and electronic clatter. Not that there’s anything wrong with that...

Two of the songs, “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “People Make the World Go Round,” are performed by a fourteen-piece ensemble, the others by groups ranging from sextet to tentet. Alongside the usual pop residue are standards by Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Michel Legrand and Don Raye/Gene DePaul, but each of them has been infected by the smooth Jazz virus and is unable to swing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that...

Fans of undemanding jazz (and there are many) should find Alexander’s otherwise sleep-inducing themes quite agreeable. The rest of us must content ourselves with jazz that engages rather than numbs the mind.


Track Listing: All of You; Pieces of Dreams; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; Little Things; Maxine; Never Can Say Goodbye; Star Eyes; Turn Your Love Around; You

Personnel: (Collective)

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Independent Records | Style: Contemporary/Smooth


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Ada Rovatti Ada Rovatti
saxophone
Eric Bolvin Eric Bolvin
trumpet
Anna Maria Jopek Anna Maria Jopek
vocalist
Jay Soto
guitar
Tom Coster Tom Coster
keyboard
Jamie Fox Jamie Fox
guitar
Irene Atman Irene Atman
vocalist
Ronny Smith
guitar, electric
Alan Hood Alan Hood
trumpet

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Parallax" CD/LP/Track Review Parallax
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 21, 2016
Read "Back Where I Belong" CD/LP/Track Review Back Where I Belong
by James Nadal
Published: June 7, 2016
Read "First Set" CD/LP/Track Review First Set
by Jerome Wilson
Published: February 6, 2017
Read "Tipico" CD/LP/Track Review Tipico
by James Nadal
Published: January 12, 2017
Read "Guitar Stories: Slack Key & Beyond" CD/LP/Track Review Guitar Stories: Slack Key & Beyond
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 2, 2016
Read "Regards To You II" CD/LP/Track Review Regards To You II
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 4, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!