Timing Is Everything Eric Alexander

Album info



Label: Cellar Live

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Hard Bop

Artist: Eric Alexander

Album including Album cover


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FLAC 48 $ 13.20
  • 1After the Rain05:32
  • 2But Beautiful07:40
  • 3Serenade To A Cuckoo06:20
  • 4Big G’s Monk04:56
  • 5Sasquatch03:21
  • 6Misty09:23
  • 7Timing Is Everything08:43
  • 8Evergreen05:12
  • 9Someone05:46
  • Total Runtime56:53

Info for Timing Is Everything

I don’t remember the exact circumstances that led me to hear Eric Alexander’s recording Straight Up on Delmark, but to say it changed my world and shaped my future would be an understatement. I would go on to discover the Criss Cross Jazz label, for whom Eric made dozens of records as a leader and a sideman, eventually becoming introduced to musicians whom I now deeply admire and consider among my dearest of friends: Jim Rotondi, Steve Davis, David Hazeltine, Mike LeDonne, John Webber, and Joe Farnsworth, among many more.

When Straight Up hit the street, I was 19 years old. I was in my second year of music college and was ‘impressionable.’ And Eric Alexander single-handedly changed the way I played the saxophone. I remember the immense power of his horn, as well as his robust and truly unbelievable sound. But beyond that, there was the confidence of his approach. Everything he played was done so with a blazing display of bravura (a trait that has continued through his whole career), as can be heard on the sounds contained on his latest offering here. Since my initial encounter with his music, I have followed Alexander’s career more closely than any other saxophonist. I’ve been lucky to get to know him over the years and today am honoured to call him my friend.

Although Eric has made several appearances on my label: One For All - Invades Vancouver, Michael Weiss - Persistence, The Heavy Hitters, Xaver Hellmeier - X-Man in New York and my record O Sole Mio, he has never appeared as a leader until now. When I started Cellar Live in 2000, recording a musician the stature of Eric Alexander was a dream—Eric enjoyed long stints with some pretty incredible record labels over the years and I wasn’t ready to play in the BIG leagues at that point. But many incredible things have happened at the label since that time. And now that the opportunity to record him has come up, I am able to jump at the chance.

Timing Is Everything is an appropriate title for both this recording, but, as Eric explains, “for life in general.” “When you're playing jazz music,” he continues, “you can play all the right notes, but if you don’t time them correctly, it's nothing…and when you do time them correctly, it's everything.” Similarly, when talking about life, Eric states, “one of the few things that a human being possesses is their time. You don't own your life. You don't own your car. You only own your time. In order to have a fulfilled life, you have to protect your time and your timing. Timing is Everything because you can’t get time back.”

The title of this record also relates to how this particular recording was made. Session supervisor Don Sickler awarded Eric and the quartet an unofficial silver medal for finishing the recording of this record in less than two hours. “I wasn't out to set a world record for recording time,” states Eric, “but I wanted to make a record that presented all of the musicians on material that they are intimately comfortable with and are capable of being creative on right away.” Continuing, he states, “it's my firm belief that, ‘warts and all,’ oftentimes it is the first impressions or the first things that we show in both life and in music, even if they have mistakes, that become our most enduring and appreciated moments. I didn't want to do alternate takes or overdubs. I wanted it just as it was, and if anything was too hideous, it wouldn't have made the record. Quite frankly, every single thing sounded just fine to me and I'm proud of it.” As George Coleman says, "you shoot for the stars right away, you might only hit the moon, but it's better than crawling around in a swamp.”

This record finds Eric in the company of good friends. Of pianist Rick Germanson, Alexander says, “he is one of the most gifted accompanists that I know. He has great ears and is not afraid to step outside the box. I can always trust him to make me sound better. He has a great harmonic gift and solos with tremendous clarity. Regarding bassist Alex Claffy, Alexander suggests, “Claffy is one of the finest emerging bass players on the scene and doesn't need to be babysat. He learns things very quickly.” Finally, according to Alexander, drummer Jason Tiemann moved to New York City from Louisville, Kentucky as a result of his urging because, “he doesn't need to take a back seat to anybody.” The record also features a handful of special guests. “I like to interact with people with whom I have a positive personal connection with first and foremost. They're all excellent musicians and it was an honor for me to have them participate in this recording because they added a little different flavor to the album that I thought enhanced the overall proceedings.”

After a couple of beautiful large ensemble recordings over the past few years, it’s refreshing to hear this titan of the tenor saxophone back once again in a small group setting, asserting himself as one of the finest to ever lay hands on a saxophone. The tune selection is wonderful, and the inclusion of special guests interspersed throughout the recording offers a nice change of pace.

It’s been a long time coming to have Eric Alexander in the fold as a leader at Cellar Music. Timing IS indeed everything. I’m so happy to have this beautiful document captured on my label. I hope you enjoy it.k.

Eric Alexander, tenor saxophone
Rick Germanson, piano
Alexander Claffy, bass
Jason Tiemann, drums
Stan Wetering, tenor saxophone (track 4)
Jed Paradies, lute (track 3)
Rale Micic, guitar (track 3)

Eric Alexander
Boasting a warm, finely burnished tone and a robust melodic and harmonic imagination, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander has been exploring new musical worlds from the outset. He started out on piano as a six-year-old, took up clarinet at nine, switched to alto sax when he was 12, and converted to tenor when jazz became his obsession during his one year at the University of Indiana, Bloomington (1986-87). At William Paterson College in New Jersey he advanced his studies under the tutelage of Harold Mabern, Joe Lovano, Rufus Reid, and others. "The people I listened to in college are still the cats that are influencing me today," says Alexander. "Monk, Dizzy, Sonny Stitt, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson--the legacy left by Bird and all the bebop pioneers, that language and that feel, that's the bread and butter of everything I do. George Coleman remains a big influence because of his very hip harmonic approach, and I'm still listening all the time to Coltrane because I feel that even in the wildest moments of his mid- to late-Sixties solos I can find these little kernels of melodic information and find ways to employ them in my own playing."

During the 1990s, after placing second behind Joshua Redman in the 1991 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition, Alexander threw himself into the whirlwind life of a professional jazz musician. He played with organ trios on the South Side of Chicago, made his recording debut in 1991 with Charles Earland on Muse Records, and cut his first album as leader in 1992 (Straight Up for Delmark). More recordings followed for numerous labels, including Milestone and others, leading to 1997's Man with a Horn; the 1998 collaborative quartet session with George Mraz, John Hicks, and Idris Muhammad, Solid!; and, that same year, the first recording by One For All, Alexander's ongoing band with Jim Rotondi, Steve Davis, Joe Farnsworth, Peter Washington, and Dave Hazeltine.

Eric has appeared in many capacities on record, including leader, sideman, producer as well as composing a number of the tunes he records. By now, Alexander has lost count of how many albums feature his playing; he guesses 80 or 90. While he has garnered critical acclaim from every corner, what has mattered most has been to establish his own voice within the illustrious bop-based jazz tradition.

In 2004, Eric signed an exclusive contract with the New York-based independent jazz label, HighNote Records where he has amassed a considerable discography of critically-acclaimed recordings. Most recent among them is “Chicago Fire” HCD 7262, “The Real Thing” with Pat Martino HCD 7278 and “Second Impression” HCD 7296. Eric’s most recent HighNote release, “Song of No Regrets,”(HCD 7311) was featured in Downbeat’s “Hot Box”. He is currently working on a new recording project which will see commercial release in mid-2019.

Eric continues to tour the world over to capacity audiences. Using NYC as his home base he can regularly be seen in the city’s most prestigious jazz clubs.

This album contains no booklet.

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