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Saxophonist Eric Alexander: Fully Grown

Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander made his first CD as a bandleader in 1992, at the age of 25. Many jazz writers dubbed him a "young lion" and a musician on his way up. That was 17 years and more than 20 CDs ago. Oddly enough, though, you can still sometimes see Alexander described as an "up-and-coming" jazz saxophonist. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth — he's fully developed into one of the finest bebop saxophonists in the world. He's "here," and the proof of that is in this session.

When Alexander walked into KPLU's Seattle studios with his longtime collaborator, pianist David Hazeltine, he was ready to play. He kicked things off right away with an intricate composition by Hazeltine — which, Alexander said, leaves "no margin for error." They followed that with a surpassingly beautiful reading of Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time" and ended the session with the sweet "Night Mist Blues."

Along the way, Alexander talked about his childhood experience as a classical pianist and discussed how meltdowns at recitals led him to jazz. He also talks about solving what he calls "the puzzle" of jazz, as well as how important it was to him to build upon the work of great jazz saxophonists of the past to create his own instrumental voice.

Listen to the previous Favorite Session, or see our full archive.

Copyright 2009 KNKX Public Radio