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Darryl Alexander Sr. — Transitions

Apr. 14, 2014

With his latest release Transitions, drummer/keyboardist/composer Darryl Alexander Sr. continues his tradition of putting together very soulful and jazzy collages of musical grooves that Darryl Alexanderspell f-e-e-l-g-o-o-d all the way through his releases.

Alive with color, poise, and sophistication, Transitions finds Alexander assembling a strong corps of musicians to help get this project headed for the stars. With saxophonists Kenny Blake and Joe Graziosi on separate tracks (except on a track called “Think About It” where they appear together); guitarist Ken Karsh, bassists Wilbur Krebs and Fred Ervin on separate tracks, and Pete Tokar and Brett Williams on Rhodes and piano on separate tracks, this smells and sounds like success to this writer for sure.

All of these fine tracks were written by Alexander and include one from his earlier Diamond in the Sky release (the version here has more kick than the more laid-back earlier version). Packed to the hilt with style and charm, the tracks here are meant for either dancing dreamily and cheek to cheek with that special someone (“If Only You Knew” is one good example) or for getting your groove fired up on the dance floor (e.g., the lead track “On E. Street”). Then, there are tracks that are just meant to place you in that mellow place where your imagination can take you to any exotic beach or weekend getaway haven in the world.  Such a track might be the gently flowing and appropriately titled “Cruizin’.”

The musicianship is flawless here, from the tickling of the ivories to the delicate and cool guitar runs to the seductive call and caress of the sax.  You can sense how comfortably each musician interacted with the others. The right musicians + the right material = One well-oiled production here – Ronald Jackson