Thursday, May 29, 2008

Eric Alexander and David Hazeltine

When: 5/24/08
Where: Artists' Quarter
Who: Eric Alexander (tenor saxophone), David Hazeltine (piano), Tom Lewis (bass), Kenny Horst (drums)

Live music deprived, craving jazz, we head straight to the AQ on our second night back in town. (Flying home from Orlando in a full, grimy plane with crying babies and children who stuck things up their noses wore us out for the first night.) Can't imagine a better welcome home than tenor sax monster Alexander and "musician's musician" Hazeltine (that's TINE with a long a, not TEEN). We hear "Alone Together," "Sweet and Lovely," and Jobim's "O Grande Amor." Alexander and Hazeltine play together a lot in NYC and it shows in their simpatico.

Jimmy Webb's "Didn't We" gets a flashy, splashy piano intro followed by mellow, buttery sax. Alexander takes an unaccompanied solo in the middle, lengthy and ruminative and satisfying. I want him to keep playing. It's a big dose of Vitamin J.

On the low-down, dirty "Kansas City Blues," his serene bassmaster Lewis takes a solo (he later says he's surprised it went on for so long) and it's splendid. The sax bleats, the piano rumbles, the drums beat a steady rhythm and the group segues right into a speedy "The Song Is You." Kenny plays a bashy solo and that's it for the set.

Jon Weber and Bill Carrothers have trained me to stay alert for quotes. I don't hear any in Alexander's playing. Maybe I just don't know what he's quoting; it all sounds like pure invention to me. I ask him about this later and he says he doesn't quote much. "Should I quote more?" he asks. No, please, just keep doing that warm, golden, swinging, shining hard-bop thing you do.

Photo of Tom Lewis by John Whiting.

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