From “Autumn Leaves” to “Autumn In New York,” tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander’s Quintet ushered in A Place for Jazz‘s fall concert season in fine fashion last Friday night.
Trading ferocious solos with Binghamton trombone master Steve Davis and long-time collaborator David Hazeltine on piano, Alexander’s notes flew around within the magical ambiance of the Schenectady Unitarian Society’s intimate Whisperdome.
Anchoring the rhythm section, bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Joe Strasser held nothing back, energetically propelling the band’s music forward. Sweat poured from the foreheads of the musicians as they churned through one re-imagined standard after another – with a few originals thrown in for good measure – during the quintet’s two-hours-plus performance before a mesmerized audience.
Alexander’s last visit to the area was June 13 in the Bernhard Theater on the Skidmore College campus as part of the annual city-wide Saratoga Arts Festival.
However, at A Place For Jazz it was a steal to pay only $15 admission for a jazz concert of this caliber. Up next, Otmaro Ruiz brings his Latin jazz piano stylings to APFJ at 8pm on Friday, September 25.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk