Eric Alexander – Song Of No Regrets (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 55:03 minutes | 628 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSounds| Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © HighNote Records
Hearing tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander is one of the great treats in jazz. There are few artists on stage today who combine chops, imagination and technique with a fluidity of ideas as he does. This imposing improviser is reunited here with pianist David Hazeltine and they’re joined by another jazz great , the always daring trumpeter Jon Faddis on a couple of the tracks. Add in the swing engendered by bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth and you have a formula for excellence, if ever there was one. Alexander produced the session and there is a strong latin feel throughout thanks to the contributions of vibrant percussionist Alex Diaz spurring the band on with a whole trunk load of Latin percussion instruments. In addition to the Sergio Mendes & Brazil ’66 title tune, the set-list features a satisfying mix of originals and covers all given the patented Alexander treatment.
Saxophonist Eric Alexander’s improvisational skills have only grown deeper since he burst onto the scene in the early ’90s. Blessed with a rounded tone and impressive technical chops, Alexander has long carried on the swinging, acoustic jazz tradition with a sound informed by such icons as Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, and Sonny Rollins. Less remarked upon is just how inventive and surprising his version of straight-ahead acoustic jazz can be. With his superb 2017 effort, the Latin-infused Song of No Regrets, he reveals this inventive side, offering up a set of groove-based anthems, inspired in part by the buoyant ’60s pop of Sergio Mendes. Joining him here are a cadre of longtime associates in pianist David Hazeltine, bassist John Webber, and drummer Joe Farnsworth. Also augmenting these largely Latin-tinged arrangements are percussionist Alex Diaz and trumpet titan Jon Faddis. What’s particularly compelling about Alexander’s approach here is how he marries the bubbly Brazilian pop of Mendes’ Brasil ’66 band with his own kinetic, post-bop style. It’s a balance he strikes throughout Song of No Regrets, applying his searching, muscular jazz flow to not only the Mendes-penned title track ballad, but also to the fiery opener “But Here’s the Thing” and his intense take on Jorge Ben’s bossa nova classic “Mas Que Nada” (also made famous by Mendes). Alexander also works a similarly ingenious magic on Stevie Wonder’s “These Three Words,” reworking the midtempo ’90s R&B groover into a soulful, afterglow-ready instrumental featuring Faddis on Harmon-muted lead. Elsewhere, he dives into the boogaloo-heavy “Boom Zoom,” and dims the lights to a sultry, dreamy haze on the languid ballad “Corazon Perdido.” ~ Matt Collar
01 – But Here’s the Thing
02 – These Three Words
03 – Grinder
04 – Corazon Perdido
05 – Mas Que Nada
06 – Boom Zoom
07 – Song of No Regrets
08 – Cede’s Shack
09 – Up, Up and Away
Produced by Eric Alexander. Engineered by Chris Sulit.
Recorded on June 12, 2017 at Trading 8s Recording Studio, Paramus, New Jersey.
Mastered by David Darlington at Bass Hit Studios, New York City.
Eric Alexander – tenor saxophone, organ on “2”
Jon Faddis – trumpet on “1 & 2”
David Hazeltine – piano
John Webber – bass
Joe Farnsworth – drums
Alex Diaz – conga, bongos & auxiliary percussion
Additional Musicians on “2”:
Joshua Bruneau – trumpet & cowbell
Esther Lomas-Sampedro – rattlesnake
Lucas Alexander – triangle and good vibes