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Eric Alexander - The First Milestone
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
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Artist: Eric Alexander
With Harold Mabern, Pat Martino, Peter Washington, and Joe Farnsworth
Title: The First Milestone
Label: Milestone/Fantasy

Eric Alexander's first Milestone release may have been given it's name to celebrate the occasion of his partnership with the Milestone label. For Eric, this is a milestone for several reasons. His settling in with a label, and his coming of age and maturation as a musician, are both paramount factors that contribute to the sound that you will hear on this CD.

From a career development standpoint, all of this couldn't have come together at a better time. Alexander has received worldwide recognition for his musical accomplishments on many levels. He has been an original with his approach to his art form. In more than words can say, this is not just a milestone in regards to musical accomplishments, it's a triumph of life.

With a smooth as silk tenor saxophone, Alexander paints an ambiance that's as tranquil and calm as a clear pool of spring water. His music is gentle yet colorful, drawing from a palette of jazz expressions that seem beyond his experience and years.

The people that join him on this recording stands as a tribute to the respect he has garnered from his peers. A wealth of expertise and knowledge becomes available for the featured artist to draw from. Consequently everything seems to fall in place due to this cooperative spirit. Mabern's piano and Martino's guitar are given equal time within the breadth and scope of Alexander's vision. He allows, and invites the musical masters to take him in different directions, although he remains in control and command of his music, keeping perfect time and syncopation within the adaptations presented by other group members. His judgment remains impeccable throughout the entire session. A collage of styles are melded to form a cohesiveness that grows into an intrinsic partnership born out of mutual respect. The music reaps the benefits of the spontaneity that jazz continually perpetuates. Everyone involved has complete awareness of that continuity.

The intricacies of the music are given an exceptional overview in the liner notes by Larry Hollis. Those of you who play an instrument will find the information provided very informative and enlightening.

Always a fresh breath of air for the jazz world to absorb, Eric Alexander's legacy continues to blossom and grow. This will be the beginning of many milestones to come.

01. Stand Pat
02. #34 Was Sweetness (For Walter Payton)
03. The First Milestone
04. The Towering Inferno
05. Night Song
06. Last Night When We Were Young
07. The Phineas Trane
08. I'm Glad There Is You

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