302

Eric Alexander: Temple of Olympic Zeus

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
According to the (incomplete) discography at his website, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, not yet forty years old, has already recorded more than seventy albums as a sideman, and nearly twenty as leader. He must stand outside recording studios in the morning waiting for the doors to open!



To say that Alexander's perseverance and enthusiasm have paid dividends would be an understatement. One reason he is called upon to perform in so many ensembles of various shapes and sizes is his remarkable consistency. To paraphrase a well-known airline commercial, Alexander loves to play, and it shows.



Although his lexicon is decidedly modern, his propensity to swing in any context and at any tempo is a throwback to such role models as Dexter Gordon, George Coleman, Sonny Rollins and other straight-from-the-hip tenors. He'd have been right at home in those freewheeling Blue Note / Prestige / Riverside sessions from the '50s and '60s.



Temple of Olympic Zeus, whose name was inspired by Alexander's visit to Athens, Greece last year, consists of three original compositions, a brace of standards, Donny Hathaway's "Someday We'll All Be Free, Curtis Montgomery's "Blues for David and Bud Powell's "I'll Keep Loving You. Even though I'm partial to the faster-paced numbers, it must be conceded that Alexander is equally persuasive on the ballad "Some Other Time and the medium-tempo "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life.



Trumpeter Jim Rotondi, a long-time friend and colleague, is an able front-line partner ("Temple, "Dave's System, "Lucas Too"), pianist David Hazeltine (on several of whose albums Alexander has guest-starred) is an adaptable improviser and perceptive accompanist, while the rhythm section (Hazeltine, bassist Nat Reeves, drummer Joe Farnsworth) calmly takes care of business without barking or stepping on anyone's toes.



Like all of Alexander's albums, this is for the hard-core jazz enthusiast and requires one's earnest thought and unwavering attention. If you'd like to hear Alexander help enliven a larger ensemble, check out Danny D'Imperio's Big Band Bloviation, vols. 1 and 2.



This is a splendid example of Alexander's steady maturation as a tenor virtuoso in a more intimate setting. Alexander always comes to play, and always brings fresh and provocative ideas to the table—in this case, the Temple. The gods must surely be pleased.


Track Listing: The Temple of Olympic Zeus; Someday We

Personnel: Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone; Jim Rotondi: trumpet (3), flugelhorn (1, 2, 6); David Hazeltine: piano; Nat Reeves: bass; Joe Farnsworth: drums.

Title: Temple of Olympic Zeus | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: HighNote Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Hot Coffey in the D – Burnin' at Morey Baker’s Showplace Lounge" CD/LP/Track Review Hot Coffey in the D – Burnin' at Morey...
by Doug Collette
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Reflection" CD/LP/Track Review Reflection
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Overseas V" CD/LP/Track Review Overseas V
by Troy Collins
Published: March 30, 2017
Read "Passin' Thru" CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Gratified Never Satisfied" CD/LP/Track Review Gratified Never Satisfied
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 16, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.