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...

2

Eric Alexander: Touching

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander has chosen an intriguing title for his latest recording on HighNote Records, as Touching can not only be used as a verb or an adjective, whose meanings differ widely, but in this case is also a blues (by pianist Bobby Lyle), the opening salvo in an album of ballads and blues that lays bare Alexander's warmer side. For those who've grown accustomed to the tenor virtuoso's formidable technique and quicksilver phrases, this may come as a revelation. Even though best known for up-tempo skirmishes Alexander has always been as comfortable among ballads as he is with barn-burners, and proves to be as resourceful and interesting in a chillier climate as he is in the tropics.

To steer away from producing just another "ballad album," Alexander and pianist / mentor / colleague Harold Mabern hand-picked a list of songs that, with one exception, are rarely if ever performed by jazz artists. The exception is John Coltrane's soulful "Central Park West," whose contrast here is provided by Alexander's tenor sax, as opposed to Coltrane's soprano. Besides "Touching," the session embodies themes by Michael Jackson ("Gone Too Soon"), Michel Legrand ("The Way She Makes Me Feel"), the R&B group the Chi-Lites ("Oh Girl"), pop songs associated with Nat King Cole ("Dinner for One Please, James"), Frank Sinatra ("The September of My Years") and one standard, Jimmy Dorsey's "I'm Glad There Is You."

Even on slower themes, Alexander's nimble fingers aren't entirely missing in action, and he designs some intricate dance moves through "Central Park" and on "I'm Glad There Is You" (which is further enhanced by Mabern's playful piano). Mabern, who solos adeptly throughout, plays the melodica on the front and back ends of "Oh Girl," which closes the album with a fade. While Alexander and Mabern are a splendid duo, this is a quartet date, and it couldn't work without the solid groundwork of bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth, who with Mabern have been members of Alexander's working group for roughly twenty years. They lend their indispensable support on all but one track, "Dinner for One Please, James."

While Touching is an explicit departure from Alexander's usual modus operandi, it is one that he and his companions embrace without pause, and there is an abundance of charming music here, further enhanced by the engineering skills of one of the masters, Rudy Van Gelder.


Track Listing: Touching; Gone Too Soon; The Way She Makes Me Feel; Dinner for One Please, James; Central Park West; I’m Glad There Is You; The September of My Years; Oh Girl.

Personnel: Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone; Harold Mabern: piano; John Webber: bass (1-3, 5-7); Joe Farnsworth: drums (1-3, 5-7).

Title: Touching | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: HighNote Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Extended Analysis
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
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

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Feb22Fri
Blue Note Tribute Show Saxophonist, Eric Alexander With...
Chris' Jazz Café
Philadelphia, PA
$20
Feb22Fri
Blue Note Tribute Show Saxophonist, Eric Alexander With...
Chris' Jazz Café
Philadelphia, PA
$20
Feb23Sat
Blue Note Tribute Show Saxophonist, Eric Alexander With...
Chris' Jazz Café
Philadelphia, PA
$25
Feb23Sat
Blue Note Tribute Show Saxophonist, Eric Alexander With...
Chris' Jazz Café
Philadelphia, PA
$25

Shop

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

Related Articles

Read Friendly Signs Album Reviews
Friendly Signs
By Don Phipps
February 22, 2019
Read The Adventures of Mr Pottercakes Album Reviews
The Adventures of Mr Pottercakes
By Roger Farbey
February 22, 2019
Read Free Fall Album Reviews
Free Fall
By Glenn Astarita
February 22, 2019
Read The Largo And The Lame Album Reviews
The Largo And The Lame
By Mark Corroto
February 22, 2019
Read Sun Of Goldfinger Album Reviews
Sun Of Goldfinger
By Dan McClenaghan
February 22, 2019
Read Paint The Sky Album Reviews
Paint The Sky
By Andrew J. Sammut
February 21, 2019
Read God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be Album Reviews
God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be
By Karl Ackermann
February 21, 2019