David Hazeltine

The Classic Trio Meets Eric Alexander

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Pianist David Hazeltine and tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander create sparks when working together, and the presence of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Louis Hayes makes their chemistry even better on this 2001 studio session. Hazeltine's hard bop opener, "On the Boulevard," has the kind of attractive groove one would expect in a classic Blue Note date from the early '60s. The leader also wrote the catchy "Jessica's Night"; the saxophonist penned the swirling dynamo "Haye's Phase." Alexander softens his hard-blowing tone to caress a brisk treatment of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "O Grande Amor," while a loping interpretation of Stevie Wonder's ballad "Knocks Me off My Feet" and a lush arrangement of Jimmy Webb's "Didn't We" demonstrate how well they handle modern pop songs. The only standard of the date is a gem, "East of the Sun," which is tackled at a racehorse tempo, and a first-rate take of Tadd Dameron's "Our Delight," a classic jazz composition driven by Hayes' superb percussion. This very rewarding CD is highly recommended.

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