Alexander the Great
Alexander is in the tradition of Windy City tenormen, and it's entirely appropriate that he's reunited here with B-3 boss Charles Earland, with whom he earned a name for himself after landing in Chicago about 10 years ago. In addition to Earland, Alexander recruited long-time associates James Rotondi, trumpet; Peter Bernstein, guitar and Joe Farnsworth, drums, all of whom are on the same page when it comes to interpreting the eight tunes that make up this tasty disc. Recorded just three months after the hornmen guested on the late Earland's Blowing the Blues 1997 HighNote CD, the three principals continue the mood established there.
"Burner's Waltz," the opening 3/4 sizzler-which Alexander wrote and dedicated to Charles "The Mighty Burner" Earland-serves as the very effective curtain-raiser for the goods to follow: The tune crackles with the kind of Jazz Messenger energy that doesn't seem to be heard much these days. Ditto "Explosion," a superheated chart on which Earland really demonstrates how he earned his moniker. Alexander, who plays harder now than the guy who beat him out at the 1991 Monk Institute's saxophone competition, Joshua Redman, also shows his tender side on Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" and Mel Torme's "Born to Be Blue.