30

Eric Alexander / Vincent Herring: Friendly Fire

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Eric Alexander / Vincent Herring: Friendly Fire
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 gain the upper hand, while their seasoned corner men—pianist Mike LeDonne, bassist John Webber, drummer Carl Allen—lend unflagging support and encouragement.

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 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.

Album information

Title: Friendly Fire | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: HighNote Records

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read How Can We Wake?
How Can We Wake?
Josephine Davies
Read Blue Has A Range
Blue Has A Range
Steve Cardenas
Read Then Now
Then Now
Rob Brown - Matthew Shipp
Read Human Dust Suite
Human Dust Suite
Miki Yamanaka
Read You're It!
You're It!
The Mike Melito/Dino Losito Quartet
Read TEST and Roy Campbell
TEST and Roy Campbell
TEST and Roy Campbell
Read 4K
4K
Modasaurus

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.