Eric Alexander

Lazy Afternoon: Gentle Ballads, Vol. 4

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Eric Alexander has had many opportunities to record as a leader for several different labels, though producer Tetsuo Hara, owner of the Japanese label Venus, has become a huge fan, recording him almost any time he travels to New York City. This 2008 session finds the tenor saxophonist with several musicians with whom he is very familiar, including pianist Mike LeDonne, bassist John Webber, and drummer Joe Farnsworth (the latter two who play with Alexander in the co-op band One for All). There's no mistaking the influence of John Coltrane in the loping opener, "Feelin' Good," where Alexander projects a huge tone on his instrument and LeDonne works in a few runs and chords suggestive of McCoy Tyner. The dreamy, free introduction to "My Funny Valentine" segues into a lush, sensitive performance. Alexander is at his emotional peak with his powerful interpretation of the ballad "Goodbye." The late-night feeling is prominent in the quartet's bluesy treatment of "Angel Eyes." This is another superb outing by Eric Alexander.