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Dead Center

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Album Review

Recalling the moody and atmospheric mid-to-late-'60s work of fellow reedmen Wayne Shorter and Hank Mobley, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander's Dead Center has a reflective quality that lends itself to such timely compositions as McCoy Tyner's "Search for Peace." It also reveals Alexander's lithe and gentle touch on standards including "Almost Like Being in Love," while lesser known works like Herbie Hancock's "Sonrisa" showcase his deft harmonic invention and superb rhythmic sense. Similarly, pianist Harold Mabern's groove-oriented "A Few Miles From Memphis" is propelled along by drummer Joe Farnsworth's soul-inflected beat with Alexander nudging lines back and forth deep inside the rhythm pocket. While not a significant departure from his past work, Dead Center nonetheless finds Alexander revealing himself as a grounded and muscular improviser who never takes his eye off the target.

Biography

Born: 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...
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