Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine


September/October 2013: Vanessa Rubin

The Blue Note Remix: Brian Lynch, Eric Alexander, Xavier Davis

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The Izzy Asper Jazz Performances season opens with a fireworks display this year. “Best of the Blue Note” captures the rambunctious energy of the record label that epitomizes the bebop era. Those sessions were marked by stamina, virtuosity, and sparkling wit, and we’re going to recreate that magic here in Winnipeg.

Brian Lynch is an absolute monster. He’s one of the Art Blakey alumni, and has been turning heads in New York with his trumpet playing for over thirty years. He’s ubiquitous! He’s part of the Phil Woods Quintet, he’s played with Prince, he’s arranged for the Japanese pop star Mika Nakashima. He’s in high demand with all the Afro-Cuban bands, both for his trumpet playing and his arranging. He works a lot with Eddie Palmieri. Their album, The Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Recording Project – Simpatico, won the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2007.

Lynch has got a clear bell-tone sound, inventive harmonic knowledge, and a real ease in both bebop language and Latin style. You can hear the influence of Freddy Hubbard in his clean attacks, clean articulations, and agility. He’s witty, confident, unassuming—a real sweetheart.

Joining him is New York saxophonist Eric Alexander. In 1991, when he was still in his early 20s, Alexander grabbed the attention of musicians and critics when he placed second—behind Joshua Redman and ahead of Chris Potter—in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. He has been playing and recording hard ever since, and now has over thirty records as a leader. Eric Alexander is coming out of Coltrane—virtuosic, intense, unflagging. He’s a saxophone athlete. He’s definitely got that Blue Note sound.

Xavier Davis (brother of our own Quincy Davis) will be at the piano. I always appreciate Xavier’s playing. He’s subtle, inventive, and good with tempos. I hear John Hicks as one of his major influences—whereas some musicians use dissonance to startle you, these guys use dissonance to reflect another color, another light. Xavier’s playing is smooth, lush, harmonically interesting, yet not abrasive. I look forward to playing with him again, and I know Quincy will too.

Winnipeg audiences are going to be wowed by these guys. The music? Well, the Blue Note brought us Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, so the best of the Blue Note is the best of the best…


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