Eric Alexander

The Second Milestone

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Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander is reunited with his former teacher Harold Mabern on this outstanding studio session. The young man's talent has grown immensely since his 1992 debut as a leader, developing a distinct sound that doesn't overly rely on any one influence. The opener "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" (from Fiddler on the Roof) is hardly a jazz standard, but the imaginative arrangement by Alexander and Mabern may prompt others to explore it as well. The emotional rendition of "Moment to Moment" is another joint collaboration between the two. Trumpeter Jim Rotundi sits in during several numbers, including Mabern's "The Man From Hyde Park" (a snappy reworking of "The Song Is You"), Alexander's hypnotic samba "Luna Naranja," and the leader's "The Cliffs of Asturias," which sounds as if it was influenced by the early compositions of Herbie Hancock. The rhythm section includes bassist Peter Washington and drummer Joe Farnsworth. This very impressive date is highly recommended.

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