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

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Extended Analysis
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Leap of Faith

Leap of Faith

Giant Step Arts
2019

buy
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

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Read Confluence Album Reviews
Confluence
By Dan McClenaghan
July 16, 2019
Read Movimenti Album Reviews
Movimenti
By Geno Thackara
July 16, 2019
Read A New Home Album Reviews
A New Home
By Mark Corroto
July 16, 2019
Read Autocannibalism Album Reviews
Autocannibalism
By John Eyles
July 16, 2019
Read Blume Album Reviews
Blume
By Chris May
July 15, 2019
Read About The Moment Album Reviews
About The Moment
By Geno Thackara
July 15, 2019
Read Källtorp Sessions, Volume One Album Reviews
Källtorp Sessions, Volume One
By Mark Corroto
July 15, 2019