Eric Alexander

Eric Alexander began piano lessons when he was six years old. At nine years old, he took up the clarinet and then switched to the alto sax three year later. At Indiana University Bloomington (1986-1987), the tenor sax was his obsession. He transferred to William Paterson College, New Jersey, where he studied with Joe Lovano and Rufus Reid. Eric says, “The people who influenced me in college are still those I listened too.” Bird’s legacy, along with all the other bebop pioneers and their language and feel are the foundation of everything I do. Because of his hip harmonic approach, George Coleman is an important influence. “I still listen to Coltrane all the time because I feel that even in the wildest moments in his mid-to late-60s solos, I can find little kernels melodic information and use them in my own playing. In 1991 Eric participated in Thelonious Monk International jazz saxophone competition. This placed him second and launched him into the hectic life of a professional jazz musician. He was a member of the Chicago South Side organ trios, and recorded his debut album with Charles Earland (Muse Records 1991). His first album as a leader was “Straight Up”, (Delmark 1991). He recorded more recordings for Milestone and other labels. He released “Man with a Horn” in 1997. The next year, “Solid !”–a quartet session with George Mraz and John Hicks was released. It also featured the first recording of his sextet One for all. Eric has been recorded as a sideman, producer and composer. He can’t remember how many albums have his playing on them, but he thinks it is 60 to 70. He has been praised by critics, and even more importantly, he has established his voice in the bebop tradition. Eric signed an exclusive deal with HighNote Records in 2004, a New York City-based independent jazz label. He has accumulated a substantial discography of highly acclaimed recordings. The most recent are “Don’t Follow the Crowd” and “Friendly Fire”, which he co-produced with Vincent Herring. Eric continues to travel the world, and plays to full houses. He now calls New York City home and performs in many clubs in the city. He also appears at Smoke on The Upper West Side. from

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