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Alexander the Great

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Album Review

The combination of tenor saxophonist Alexander, trumpeter Jim Rotundi, guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Joe Farnsworth has yielded great results, with the collective One for All and their own individual bands. Their longstanding association with organ master Charles Earland unfortunately ends with this CD, as Earland has passed away. So this is their last chance to cook with the Mighty Burner, and they do it up right. Although this is Alexander's date, all five take equal roles in this effort. They swing harder than seemingly possible for "Explosion," a muscular and virile hard-driver where horns shout over Earland's fiery solo. The steaming hot "Burner's Waltz" has an incessant bass drum throb pushing an unassailable groove and Alexander's rip-em-up tenor. The same type of bass drum pulse raises the funky "Carrot Cake." The band dips into the Benny Goodman songbook for "Soft Winds," an easy swing not readily adaptable to the organ combo, but pulled off nicely here. Earland's penchant for pop-funk is present on the Al Green evergreen "Let's Stay Together," with Alexander's pretty, sweet tenor playing the sturdy melody line, and Rotundi's trumpet inventing contrary lines as support. Chaka Khan's "Through the Fire" has all the earmarks of Earland's trademark stance, but more hollowed out. There are also two ballads. "God Bless the Child" has Bernstein leading and Alexander moving him up a notch, while Earland doubles the tempo on the bridge for roiling organ and tenor solos. Alexander's increasing maturity is evident on the low-end emphasis of the surly "Born to Be Blue." Where Earland's epitaph has been written, this posthumous coda is a reminder of how inspirational he was to younger cats. The remaining four will carry this relationship with them for a long time, and this is a perfect example that this match was made in heaven, where Earland has now returned. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: August 04, 1968 in Galesburg, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A fine straight-ahead jazz saxophonist, Eric Alexander grew up in the state of Washington. He initially attended Indiana University, studying classical music as an altoist. However, he soon discovered jazz, switched to the tenor, and transferred to William Paterson College in New Jersey. After graduating, he moved to Chicago and gained important experience touring with Charles Earland while also becoming a fixture in local clubs. In 1991, Alexander placed second at the Thelonious Monk Institute's...
Full bio

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  • $7.92
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jan 15, 2000

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