All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

292

Eric Alexander: Gentle Ballads

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
This CD offers classic fare from a well-oiled quartet. It's a satisfying sampler of tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander's strong, burnished-copper tone, which is nicely balanced by pianist Mike LeDonne's elegant filigree. In a recent Downbeat interview, Alexander named Coleman Hawkins as a major influence because "he just puts the information on the plate, and more power to you if you can figure it out and make use of it for yourself." Alexander has a similar directness; even when he's blowing hard, he's no blowhard, scattering notes around just to prove he can do it. Every note has meaning.



Despite the CD's title, not all tracks are ballads, but the music rarely revs higher than mid-tempo; what you get are over 70 thoroughly mellow minutes. Most of them involve respectful takes on venerable standards: "Harlem Nocturne" appears on two tracks at different tempos, "Here's to Life" becomes a gentle samba, and "Stormy Weather" is a swinging, late-night Alexander/LeDonne duet.

There are also some lesser-heard gems like Mal Waldron's beautiful "Left Alone," the pensive Jones/Salvador tune "The Midnight Sun Will Never Set," and "Gently," a strong Alexander original that fits nicely into this set. The approach is primarily straightforward, with some nice solo turns all around—and kudos to drummer Joe Farnsworth and bassist John Webber for keeping things interesting in the background. Gentle Ballads is a classy, romantic CD.


Track Listing: The Midnight Sun Will Never Set, Left Alone, Gently, Here's to Life, Midnight Sun, Harlem Nocturne, Soul Eyes, Under a Blanket of Blue, Stormy Weather, Chelsea Bridge, Harlem Nocturne II

Personnel: Eric Alexander (tenor sax), John Webber (bass), Mike LeDonne (piano), Joe Farnsworth (drums) Tetsuo Hara, Todd Barkan (producers)

Title: Gentle Ballads | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Venus Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Song of No Regrets

Song of No Regrets

HighNote Records
2017

buy
Second Impression

Second Impression

HighNote Records
2016

buy
The Real Thing

The Real Thing

HighNote Records
2015

buy
Chicago Fire

Chicago Fire

HighNote Records
2014

buy
Touching

Touching

HighNote Records
2013

buy
Friendly Fire

Friendly Fire

HighNote Records
2012

buy

Related Articles

Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Vera CD/LP/Track Review
Vera
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 18, 2018
Read In Motion CD/LP/Track Review
In Motion
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Marshian Time Slip CD/LP/Track Review
Marshian Time Slip
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Four On The Road CD/LP/Track Review
Four On The Road
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "Life Stories" CD/LP/Track Review Life Stories
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 8, 2018
Read "Songs Of Universal Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Songs Of Universal Peace
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 4, 2018
Read "Sounding Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Life In Space" CD/LP/Track Review Life In Space
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "This World of Dew" CD/LP/Track Review This World of Dew
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: July 27, 2018
Read "Live at the Village Vanguard, Vol. 1 (The Embedded Sets)" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the Village Vanguard, Vol. 1 (The Embedded Sets)
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 23, 2018