Hard Bop Night at Smoke!
Mark Twain | Valencia, Ca United States | 08/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Virtually any release that has been recorded at the Smoke bistro in NY (only 70 seats) will grab the attention of 'live-recording' afficiandos. I do all my searches by typing 'Live': hence the result was to be the first to 'review' this CD. I had heard Eric Alexander this same month at the Stanford Jazz Fest. and I can assure you - this set is how this robust tenor player sounds - here and now!
I had not heard at any length, the work of altoist Vincent Herring, priorly. The Battle is a misnomer, actually. The work of these two main soloists compliment each other rather than make any attempt to divert attention from the soloing at hand.
It's a typical hard-bop set...I'll let others go into the details. Carl Allen, the drummer was also part of the group Eric Alexander played with at Stanford. Guy plays a lot of poly-rhythms a-la Elvin, all with a straight face! You will not be disappointed with his timekeeping, herein.
Despite being a two reed(s) set, quite a bit of solo space is made for Mike LeDonne and he holds his own quite well. Ditto for the bassist, John Webber, whose firm beat will make its presence known in your subwoofer!"
More skirmish than battle but definitely LIVE!
Maxmike | West Chester, PA USA | 01/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Great live recording at the venerable New York all jazz nightclub. Eric Alexander, arguably the most distinguishable and prolific tenor sax on today's jazz scene, is a fixture there. Don't be alarmed that there are only 6 tracks, each is approximately 9-10 minutes long and there is much to enjoy. Each track follows a similar format, alto and tenor sax start out harmonizing-then each take a turn with gut-spilling solos followed by some fine piano work. Herring does some impressive work here and Alexander is Alexander. This CD captures the competitive juices that were flowing that night."