Saxophonist Easley, with a wealth of jazz, R&B, big band and Broadway pit orchestra experience, shows here why he’s in high demand. His alto, his primary horn on the date, is supple, tonally attractive and versatile. On “Nina Never Knew,” his scoops and vibrato suggest a modern-day Johnny Hodges. A pair of tunes by Frank Strozier-“Extension” and “Runnin'”-suggests that Easley is also a fan of Strozier’s lean, lithe alto. On “I Want to Be Happy,” there are fleeting references to Cannonball Adderley.
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