Monday, May 23, 2011

Mouzon Finishes Long-Term Project; Alexander Doesn't Follow the Crowd - Bob Stewart

In his colorful and wide-ranging career, Alphonse Mouzon has long been considered one of the most skilled and versatile drummers in the music business. He was a member of the original versions of Weather Report and Larry Coryell's Eleventh House, and worked with Gil Evans, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis and Jean-Luc Ponty. He's led a couple dozen of his own recording sessions ranging from funk to fusion, smooth to straight ahead. Yet it is doubtful that he's ever spent as much time on a project as on "Angel Face", which took him 11 years to complete. Mouzon wrote and arranged all of the songs and gathered together a summit of musical giants including Cedar Walton, Kenny Barron, Christian McBride, Bob Mintzer, Arturo Sandoval and Wallace Roney.

Eric Alexander is the rarest type of jazz artist: one who garners critical acclaim from every corner while firmly establishing his own voice within the illustrious bop-based jazz tradition. He has trained and toughed it out with some of the best musicians in the business, and is a player possessing both accessibility without condescension and intelligence without alienation. For his latest CD -- "Don't Follow the Crowd" -- Alexander was once again in Rudy Van Gelder's 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 earned him a place among the elite jazzmen of today.

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