Alex Graham

Brand New

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Alto sax player Alex Graham's album Brand New attempts to live up to its own title largely by reworking classic pieces (and a few less-common items in the jazz world) into a new form for an interesting sextet combination. The album opens with a piece from the Stylistics that is just this side of recognizable. An original blues club number from Graham follows, as well as a couple of interesting arrangements of old songbook classics. An Isley Brothers piece is added to the jazz repertoire, though it gets a bit of an easy listening sheen in the process. "Rocket Science," another Graham original, takes a seed from "Giant Steps" on its way to a wide-ranging exploration in a lengthy alto solo. A Cannonball Adderley number reminds the listener that the alto has its own roots, and the album ends with two more standards: Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark" (which comes out as a nice sentimental duet between Graham's sax and David Hazeltine on piano) and Buddy Johnson's "Save Your Love for Me." Graham has some excellent abilities both on the sax and in his arrangements, and he's got a fine band backing him up for this album. The trombone never really makes its presence known to the degree one might hope for, but the arrangements seem made to fit and the rhythm section is incredible. Worth a spin for its mix of older compositions and newer arrangements.

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