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Don't Follow the Crowd

6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 26, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

For his 2011 HighNote release, Eric Alexander is once again in the Rudy Van Gelder studio with his long-time collaborators Harold Mabern, Joe Farnsworth and Nat Reeves for a program of originals, standards and not-so-standards delivered with the prerequisite imagination and daring that has made Eric Alexander a place among the elite jazzmen of today.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 26, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: HighNote
  • ASIN: B004Q6PX4M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,993 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Down Home Hip to the Jive on October 8, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Hard bop is alive and well in the commission of these four notable and accomplished musicians: Eric Alexander(ts), Harold Mabern(p), Nat Reeves(b), and Joe Farnsworth(d). Add to this musical mix the expertise of Rudy Van Gelder, one of the most important recording engineers in music history, and together they've recorded a remarkable CD showcasing acoustic jazz, as one would hear it played by a small-combo in a night club. Each of these fine musicians has ample opportunities to solo, especially Alexander and Mabern, who were once student and teacher respectively. A modern dynamic jazz duo best describes their collaboration.

The selections on this CD include five moderately paced hard bop compositions and three leisurely paced ballads. Listening to "Nomor Senterbress", "Footsteps", "Don't Misunderstand Me", "Remix Blues" and "Cavatina" are the swinging songs while "She's Out of My Life", "Charade", and "Don't Follow the Crowd" comprise the three ballads. "Nomor Senterbress" and "Remix Blues" are Alexander's originals that distill the essence from the hard bop style and culture. Alexander has firmly planted his roots in the history of great hard boppers like Art Blakey and Horace Silver. With adherence to a more rhythmic and bluesy approach, this style of jazz, originally African-American in its inception, is accessible for non-jazz listeners. Alexander's album remains a modern jazz recording with a connection to a rich jazz tradition that's still in vogue among contemporary jazz artists of today.

Alexander's quartet, the epitome of small-combo workmenship, presents a gift to us that's a fifty-four minute affirmation and performance in the musical tradition of hard bop. Music from a past generation that's still relevant and as pleasant to listen to as ever. Alexander and Mabern are two standard bearers of what's best in jazz today. Their symbiotic partnership of playing jazz on this impressive CD makes for an enjoyable listening experience.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Scott Douglas on November 12, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the first review I've written of anything on Amazon. Why do so for this disc? Because I don't want long-time Eric Alexander fans to make the mistake I initially did and overlook this stellar CD.

I've been an Eric fan for a decade now, and have several of his discs as leader, as well as many One For All releases and albums he's a sideman on. A few months ago I saw this disc in my local record store and thought, "Eric with his usual trusted partners. I'm sure it's a good record, but do I really need it?" I passed.

Last month I saw Eric live and, spurred by his usual great playing, bought the CD from him to give as a gift to my father. Before mailing it, I listened to it, and was blown away. This is fresh, exciting stuff. You know it's Eric, but you also know it's not the Eric of five or ten years ago. He keeps pushing himself, and the band follows suit. I'm buying another one to keep for myself.

Eric is now in his early 40s, and has matured as a player. You know how early Shakespeare plays are a little too showy sometimes, how you wish you could have said to him, "It's OK, you don't have to dazzle me with every line. Sometimes less is more," while in later ones his prowess is more subtle and therefore more effective? That's how I feel listening to Eric on this disc. More restraint makes the highlights that much more, uh, highlightful.

To sum up: If you're a long-time Eric fan, get this. If you're new to Eric, this would be a great starting point. Then if you're inspired to go into his back catalog, maybe get Nightlife in Tokyo, and then the even-earlier Heavy Hitters.

Finally, if you're a jazz fan who buys CDs, please consider buying them by guys who are alive. Of course the giants of the music are fabulous, but there are so many excellent living, breathing jazz musicians who deserve to be heard and supported. Eric is at the top of that list.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By thedre on August 1, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD because my local radio station...KJAZZ in the bay area played Remix BLues from this CD. It made a strong connection with me. I also like the levels (audio) of each of the players. The drums are not hidden in the mix. Remix Blues sounded like a club date, but was recorded in the studio. I like that a lot.
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