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October 1997

One For All featuring Eric Alexander
Too Soon to Tell
Sharp Nine

Sadly but truly, today's jazz community rarely receives such sublimely beautiful jazz combos like One For All. On Too Soon To Tell, this extremely talented yet ego-less sextet boasts a bracing set of standards and originals that are steeped heavily in the classic bebop era.

Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander may benefit from special billing for the group, but that should not deter the listener from enjoying absorbing solos from pianist David Hazeltine, whose fleeting romantic renderings on the Latin-tinged "Alfie" enliven the classic with spring-like appeal. Trumpeter Jim Rotondi's fluid yet rhythmic-charged solos on "Too Soon To Tell" and "Stranger Than Fiction" will also elicit immediate pleasure. As for the featuring tenor saxophonist, Eric Alexander's burnished tone fuels stately ballads like "Dedicated To You" with crush-velvet touches that bring to mind Dexter Gordon.

But One For All is hardly just about soloing; the group's amazing empathy and subtleness are it's strongest trump cards. The breezy interpretation of the R&B classic, "Betcha By Golly Wow" attests the ensemble affinity for aural unification. An earlier contender for sleeper of the year, Too Soon To Tell is a bright offering that lures the listener in that special Blue Note kind of way.

Originally published in October 1997
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