Watching the Waves
Canadian Terry Alexander has spent much of his professional life plying the waves aboard the Queen Elizabeth II while singing for the post-supper crowds, and it shows. He is precisely the sort of solid midtempo swinger—the kind of meat-and-potatoes vocalist who focuses on selling the steak and not the sizzle—which such an environment, where the music is of equal importance to the ocean breezes and open bar, demands. So, though Alexander is billed as the leader on this, his debut album, it’s no wonder that his capable and utterly likeable but ultimately innocuous readings of a dozen standards (and one original, the title track, which owes an obvious nod to his nights at sea) are easily eclipsed by an assortment of sidemen who represent the cream of the Toronto jazz scene. Such stellar players as trumpeter Guido Basso, bassist Neil Swainson, guitarist Lorne Lofsky, pianist Mark Eisenman and alto saxman Alex Dean are household names among savvy jazzbos north of the 49th parallel, but likely far less familiar to listeners across the U.S. So, pick up the disc for the smorgasbord of sumptuous instrumentalists and accept Alexander’s vocals as the vanilla-flavored dessert.