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Milestones

Today's tenor players

128 posts in this topic

Honestly, I don't see why anybody would get passionate one way or the other about Eric Alexander. He does what he does, and if you like it, it'll always be like that. And if you don't like it, it will also always be like that. He's had more than enough time to make it otherwise, so as far as "waiting to se what comes next", that horse done left the barn. If you're riding it, happy trails!

18 minutes ago, Brad said:

Does every artist have to be inventing or expanding the musical universe to be deemed praiseworthy?

No.

Next question?

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FWIW, I like what I've heard of Wayne Escoffery -- mostly in Tom Harrell's group. The expected influences (Henderson, Shorter, Trane), but, like Mark Turner, he's not confined by them. Unlike Mark Turner, he tends to play with more muscle more consistently.

I'm hesitant to mention Shelley Carrol, as he doesn't really qualify as younger these days... but mention him I just did.

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18 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Honestly, I don't see why anybody would get passionate one way or the other about Eric Alexander. He does what he does, and if you like it, it'll always be like that. And if you don't like it, it will also always be like that. He's had more than enough time to make it otherwise, so as far as "waiting to se what comes next", that horse done left the barn. If you're riding it, happy trails!

(..)

It could also happen that the listener is not interested anymore into "seeing what comes next" from those regarded as more creative players (as per your definition), and prefers to remain happily revisiting those beaten paths.You never know where the sound of surprise might pop up!

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10 hours ago, Milestones said:

jcam:

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?  (aka as 0-for-9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egads!!!! 

Out of curiosity, is it the writing of modern players that is disliked? 

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8 minutes ago, EKE BBB said:

You never know where the sound of surprise might pop up!

Of course not, but life is short. After a while you learn to play the odds.

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Ok, let's compare how times have changed - Eric Alexander is now 50. He's made a bajillion records, all of them pleasing to his fans, but none of them have "rocked the world", so to speak. And I get that that's not what his fans are looking for out of him, and that's cool. Follow your bliss and all that.

But the time Sonny Rollins was 50, hell, he had rocket the world several times in several different ways, and was already having to deal with a bunch of bitching an moaning that he was washed up, or at least past his prime.

For that matter, by the time Hank Mobley was 50, he had made all the records he was ever going to make, period.

Sonny Stitt at 50 had, at the very least, established himself as a player who was prone to coasting but could pretty much rise to any occasion if properly inspired. You can certainly point to a handful of Sonny Stitt records as being among the highest quality of individual expression in an unmistakably personal voice.

And hell, Gene Ammons didn't even make it to 50, never really created anything except himself, and remains beloved amongst a wide cross-section of "jazz fans".

And no, it's not really fair to compare Eric Alexander to Sonnys Rollins & Stitt, Hank Mobley, or Gene Ammons. But if there's a point to be made, that's it - there's no comparison.

I don't understand the defensiveness about the people who enjoy Eric Alexander. I too enjoy pleasant, predictable outcomes, it's why I buy the same toothpaste every time out.

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My point with the questions marks was simply that I have no idea who these players are.  I am more knowledgeable about jazz than anyone that I know (in person, that is), yet I draw blanks here.  Many jazz players (though they may be worth listening to) must be totally under the radar.

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38 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Of course not, but life is short. After a while you learn to play the odds.

With a closed mind, the odds are zero.

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Crest or Colgate? :g

Jim, I essentially agree with your points. He’s a nice player but no Sonny, etc. but how many people are.  It’s like saying so and so is no Mays or Mantle.  No kidding.  Guys like that and players like Sonny or Hank come along a generation. However, there’s a place for others too without inviting comparisons to people in the pantheon. 

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1 hour ago, Joe said:

FWIW, I like what I've heard of Wayne Escoffery -- mostly in Tom Harrell's group. The expected influences (Henderson, Shorter, Trane), but, like Mark Turner, he's not confined by them. Unlike Mark Turner, he tends to play with more muscle more consistently.

I'm hesitant to mention Shelley Carrol, as he doesn't really qualify as younger these days... but mention him I just did.

I should have mentioned him except I went to see him Saturday night and he didn't show up.

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29 minutes ago, JSngry said:

I don't understand the defensiveness about the people who enjoy Eric Alexander. I too enjoy pleasant, predictable outcomes, it's why I buy the same toothpaste every time out.

I don't understand the ruthless criticism and aggresiveness on him, either. :lol:

And of course he ain't no Sonny Rollins... there is only one Sonny Rollins!

Edited by EKE BBB

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1 minute ago, Brad said:

Crest or Colgate? :g

Jim, I essentially agree with your points. He’s a nice player but no Sonny, etc. but how many people are.  It’s like saying so and so is no Mays or Mantle.  No kidding.  Guys like that and players like Sonny or Hank come along a generation. However, there’s a place for others too without inviting comparisons to people in the pantheon. 

I buy Aim. It's a dollar a tube these days and tastes good. AND it has fluoride!

And I totally agree about the generational thing, every generation has people who redefine what "it" is, or, not even redefine, they create it in their own image, they become iconic. So yes, Mays/Mantle/etc.

But also Vada Pinson, who should be a charter member in The Baseball Hall Of Very Good. Likewise, sure, Rollins, Trane, but also J. Heath, Golson, Mobley, Cook, some of whom can get every bit as much love as "The giants" just because they are their own sweet selves.

It's not an Eric Alexander thing, though, it's an if Eric Alexander is Vada Pinson, then who are the Mays/Mantles of HIS generation thing?

I think it's time we just admit that "jazz" in the sense of Eric Alexander (and not just him, but all of "those guys" is no longer a growing music, it's a style to be pursued towards essentially known ends. Various ends, but known ends.

It's also time to admit that "jazz" as played by all those "?" people is not ever going to appeal, viscerally, intellectually, in ANY kind of way to the Eric Alexander people. Just face it and let it be what it be. Everybody wants to get argumentative about why don't somebody like what I like, and I can answer that - because they don't like it! It's not a hard question!

Now, my personal bitch is this - among those "?" guys, who is THEIR Mays/Mantle. I've yet to hear one there, either.

Giants no longer walk the Earth. None of these people today are giants.

They just tall, that's all.

 

Tell you what, though, I've goofed on Malaby before for his attire and funny shit like that, but when I roll these names around in my mind, he does stand out as somebody who consistently brings the spirit, or at least that manifestation of it.

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17 hours ago, Ted O'Reilly said:

Grant Stewart and Seamus Blake are also Canadian, along with Murley.  We in Toronto have more than a few others who aren't as widely known as they should be:  Kelly Jefferson, Perry White (excellent on bari, too), Kirk MacDonald for example...

...and Alex Dean, quite possibly the best of them all. 

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I enjoy many of the musicians already mentioned. This past Friday I heard James Brandon Lewis with his No Filter trio. Since hearing his recording with William Parker and Gerald Cleaver I have been trying to follow him when I can. I was not prepared for the volume the No Filter trio played with on Friday - especially since I was sitting less than five feet from the musicians. The electric bass player (Luke Stewart) overwhelmed the sound and it was not easy to get a good focus on Lewis at times. But I heard enough to keep listening. I hope to catch him in duo with Chad Taylor in December.

Another younger tenor I have really been following is Brian Settles. He has been on a few Tomas Fujiwara recordings among others, and has two recordings of his own. He does not have a very high profile right now, but any chance I get I will listen to him.

I don't think Rodrigo Amado has been mentioned. IMO he is one of the best out there.

9 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

I was really impressed with Greg Tardy (age 52 now) the 4(?) times I saw him back 7-15 years ago (before I moved to DC) -- and I think I've seen him twice in more supporting roles (here in DC), but in groups of more like 8-9 players total.  Meaning he didn't get anywhere near the amount of solo time as when he was in Andrew Hill's band, or Helen Sung's, or another band I'm probably forgetting (or maybe it was Helen Sung who was in his band? - or maybe both, on separate occasions).

I see (now) he has a TON of leader-dates on Steeplechase over the last 10 years or so, which I really ought to explore.

All of the SteepleChase dates are worth hearing IMO.

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Paul Dunmall

Mark Hanslip

Rachel Musson

 

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2 hours ago, Milestones said:

My point with the questions marks was simply that I have no idea who these players are.  I am more knowledgeable about jazz than anyone that I know (in person, that is), yet I draw blanks here.  Many jazz players (though they may be worth listening to) must be totally under the radar.

I guess it all depends on how each chooses to extend their radar.  I think you’d be hard pressed to find many “jazz” artists regardless of their instrument on any radar. 

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Keefe Jackson

Tim Haldeman

Christoph Erb

Fredrik Ljungkvist

Martin Kuchen

Kjetil Møster

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To my ears, players such as Eric Alexander and Scott Hamilton (to use just 2 examples) are every bit as good  jazz tenor players as Junior Cook and Jimmy Heath. None of the 4 were/are breaking new ground or extending the boundaries of the music. But all were/are talented swinging players, and I very much enjoy listening to all 4 of them.

It strikes me as peculiar that while bashing Eric Alexander or Scott Hamilton is common by some, I don't recall any bashing of Junior Cook or Jimmy Heath.

 

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9 minutes ago, Peter Friedman said:

It strikes me as peculiar that while bashing Eric Alexander or Scott Hamilton is common by some, I don't recall any bashing of Junior Cook or Jimmy Heath.

 

Maybe because Junior Cook died in 1992 and Jimmy Heath is 91 (I see)?

Edited by bluenoter

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Jimmy Heath was organic to his time/place, he was playing bebop when it was still a new-ish kind of thing. And his palate grew over the years, grew quite a bit actually. And as a writer? That cat matters.

Junior Cook, hell, Junior Cook was with the "classic" Horace Silver band when they were the "classic Horace Silver band". If you don't have a Horace Silver record with Junior Cook on it, well....that's just weird. Really weird.

And see, we have records of all this, lots of records with Jimmy Heath and Junior Cook. I don't get tired of their records, but I don't live in them either. Lots of other things happened before, during, and after. And at some point, a cat like Eric Alexander, yeah, he plays really really well, but I just don't care because I got other records to go to get that, records by people who did it when it was a look at the then-now, as opposed to the now-then. I like watching old TV shows. I don't like watching new TV shows that redo old ones.

I really don't understand why this is a problem, it's not complicated. If people like Eric Alexander, good. You have plenty of records to listen to. And if people don't, good. You too have plenty of records to listen to.

 

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Pretty amazing it took 3 pages to mention Rodrigo Amado

one of the truly great saxophonists of our time

His now long list of exceptional recordings should have by now become well known at least in these circles but alas is anyone besides 2 or 3 of us buying these records??

I also wonder if the 78 year old Joe McPhee has been missed by large swaths of the “Jazz” scene. Plus I know he often features his pocket trumpet & alto saxophone at shows along with his soprano saxophone but I think certainly his tenor saxophone should be seen as a definative voice of this music.

also they are now 60+ but one mention of Ab Baars & Paul Dunmall

plus for the Tony Malaby naysayers maybe it’s time to go see the man instead of simply throwing a thumbs down on his playing. Kinda really out of line if you havn’t heard him leading a band over the past 10 years but maybe something happened in the translation.

nice to hear Martin Kuchen’s name and did everyone forget about Mats Gustafsson ? I know he plays a whole bunch of baritone these days but his legacy on tenor is pretty huge by this point in time.

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20 hours ago, BillF said:

Re talented Canadian tenors I'd also mention Ralph Bowen and Phil Dwyer.

Absolutely.  I was just adding the Toronto guys I see and hear a lot.  Could add others, too...

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Sorry -- forgot about Keefe Jackson (a friend as well as a favorite).

Also -- Mark Shim (knocked me out in person once, I liked his first album  but haven't heard him much on disc since then), and Gregory Tardy.

About Alexander, he doesn't outright annoy me, but as long as the music made by the guys he's modeled himself on (and in some cases the guys themselves) are still around, why should I bother? If you dig him, enjoy.

Harry Allen -- utterly spineless. And early on (he may have altered his approach in this respect since then) his emulation/imitation of the sound of "Long Island Sound " Stan Getz was among the creepiest things I've ever heard. I know, lots of guys have been heavily influenced by the sounds of Hawkins, Young, Coltrane et al. and managed to come up with something personal, but that particular slice of Getz was so intensely personal to who Getz was at that time that copying it seems to me to be -- well, blech. 

I ask myself -- you may ask -- why do I like Grant Stewart as much as I do, given how Rollins-esque he can be at times. The answer I come up with is that within that bag (and at one point he clearly was digging Mobley too) he always seems to me to be "in the now," making up coherently swinging melodies that (again, to me) seem to be results of his own thinking/feeling, rather than shuffling through an anthology of his models' favorite licks.

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I don't think I've seen anyone mention Kamasi Washington.  An interesting case, as he was a journeyman player for at least a decade before suddenly becoming a "star."  I'm not sure what to think about him; there is a hype factor.

He is younger than most mentioned on the thread, at least among the names that I recognize.

 

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