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Prime Time

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Album Review

This double-disc package from Eric Alexander contains a live date by his quartet in 2007 at the Diana Wortham Theater, in Asheville, NC. The program contains mostly originals by either the saxophonist or his pianist David Hazeltine. Bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth round out this excellent band, and the performance is simply electrifying. This band communicates deeply and widely, moving from lyric to modal improvisation at every turn. The dialogue between Alexander and Hazeltine is symbiotic, crossing harmonic paths and building on them whether it's a blues, such as the opening tune "Blues Like," Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time," or "We All Love Eddie Harris," by Hazeltine, in which a Latin groove by the rhythm section evolves into a funky one and then gets stretched into a free flowing exercise in funky harmonic invention. The groove is constant, there are no lulls, and what's happening on the stand is what makes jazz itself magical: fluid exchanges of complex ideas turned into what appears simple and easy. For the listener, the sound of the gig with its raw immediacy, kinetic energy, and confident interplay is nothing less than a complete delight as these players all challenge one another while remaining committed to the flow of the ensemble. The DVD included contains a longer, very different show, even if some of the tunes are the same. Again, the beauty of jazz is that it's different all the time. Alexander is such a fiery tenor player, evoking everyone from Coltrane and Rollins to Gene Ammons and Booker Ervin in his playing, all the while remaining himself. The DVD is a gas to watch, but even more incredible to simply listen to, as the extra cuts here, like Alexander's "First Impression," and the title cut which closes out the program are almost staggering in their harmonic and rhythmic brilliance. Likewise Hazeltine's ability to create these enormous yet knotty, grooving chord voicings before he takes the groove right through the roof on "We All Love Eddie Harris," or "Little Lucas," or his "Pearls" — he's completely amazing. This is a smoking hot set, whether you are watching or just listening.


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...
Full bio
Prime Time, Eric Alexander
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 04 March 2008

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