A controlled burn of passion and intensity, Eric Alexander is indeed on fire!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Eric Alexander is a lunch pail tenor saxophonist. He isn't afraid to get dirty and will work changes till there is nothing left. Chicago Fire is a prime example of an artist simply going about his work with all the tools of his trade firmly in hand. The intangibles are what make Eric Alexander a master at his craft. A harmonic depth of field other tenor players could only dream of combined with his fat sound and superior technique make Alexander an A list talent be it as a leader or first call improvisational utility infielder. Eric Alexander smokes!
Chicago Fire has some familiar names in his rhythm section of the great Harold Mabern on piano, John Webber on bass, and mainstay Joe Farnsworth on drums. A very special guest is trumpet phenom Jeremy Pelt who sits in on 3 tracks. The tribute here is to the Chicago saxophone greats such as Eddie Harris and Johnny Griffin and those that just cooled their heels there including Sonny Stitt. Chicago Fire smolders with highlights including the "Blues for Vonski" in tribute to the great Von Freeman who passed a few years back at 88. This is a musical conversation, intimate yet brimming with passion. An interesting dynamic tension is created with the Harold Mabern tune "Mr. Stitt." Why so good? Chemistry, Love and Passion. First or second takes have Chicago Fire with the classic warm sound of jazz recordings made fifty years ago.
To sum it up:
Tracks: Save Your Love For Me; The Bee Hive; Eddie Harris; Just One Of Those Things; Blueski For Vonski; Mr. Stitt; You Talk That Talk; Don't Take Your Love From Me.
Personnel: Eric Alexander: Tenor Saxophone; Jeremy Pelt: Trumpet: Harold Mabern: Piano; John Webber; Bass; Joe Farnsworth: Drums.