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It's All In the Game

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Album Review

Over the dozen years since his debut recording as a leader, Eric Alexander has developed into one of the most important tenor saxophonists of his generation. Joined once again by one of his favorite pianists, Harold Mabern, along with bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Joe Farnsworth, Alexander kicks off this studio affair with a gritty hard bop treatment of "Where or When." "It's All in the Game" dates from the early part of the 20th century (written by future Vice President Charles Dawes), yet this is hardly a dated melody, as Alexander gives his best with a lush ballad treatment, while Mabern (who suggested the tune) incorporates subtle hints of gospel into his provocative solo. Thelonious Monk's "Ruby, My Dear" is revamped with a delightful brisk setting, while a Latin-flavored arrangement of the R&B hit "Where Is the Love" also transforms it into something new. Alexander's originals are equally enjoyable. "Typhoon 11" mixes a samba flavor with post-bop, with Mabern sounding at times like McCoy Tyner, while the tense blues "Open and Shut" would have been a perfect contribution to the repertoire of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Eric Alexander is a clear winner with It's All in the Game.

Customer Reviews

Great tenor player - Great band - Great Song selection

Eric Alexander: Incredibly good, mature - knows what he wants to do and how to get there. Beautiful to listen to. Full of ideas, phrasing and tone that grabs you - speaks to you - and holds you for the whole journey. Not afraid to try to please a general audience and a jazz audience in the same breath because he can do it! Not afraid to approach a pop tune like "Where Is The Love" and make it work for anyone. For listening and thoroughly enjoying, it doesn't get much better. You need great musicians working with you to do this - and that is just what you get with this very in touch and supportive rhythm section.

great sound

eric is always a treat to listen to, and has great feel in every note he plays. one more album to add to the stack of quality music

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...
Full Bio
It's All In the Game, Eric Alexander
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  • $7.92
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Apr 16, 2006

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