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DARRYL ALEXANDER SR.: TRANSITIONS

09/02/2014

 

If you already looked to American tv channels and programs as Saturday Night Live (NBC), Good Morning America (ABC), The Weather Channel, E Entertainment, Lifetime, Fox Business or Maury Povich views, or if you have flown with Continental, Airtran, Frontier and Jetblue, then chances are you heard music coming from the African American Darryl Alexander. During his college years was Darryl already in the band Love, Life, and Light. He gets on his new cd collaboration of Kenny Blake, Ken Karsh, Brett Williams, Pete Tokar, Wilber Krebs, Fred Ervin, Joe Graziosi, John Madgett, and Brandon Howard. "What I enjoy working with this group is there is a light heartedness in their soul, and it comes out in their performances," said Darryl. "I remember Kenny Blake saying one day in the studio that EMS personnel see some pretty horrific things every day. As artists we have an opportunity to make someone's day just a little bit lighter, little bit easier, even if just for a moment. " Darryl all 11 songs composed itself, and plays drums, percussion, organ and keyboards. Opener ' On e. Street ' is a cheerful and fun number, after which ' No Turning Back ' is a little more funky. ' Never Alone ', on the other hand, is very "laidback", followed by the Nice samba ' Hey Senorita '. "Too Late For Love ' is more the smooth jazz, and the ballad" If Only You Knew ' is ideal for romantic dancing. It is very relaxed with ' Cruzin', after which the "feel good" song ' When Little Birds Fly ' coming. ' Remembering You ' is back nice smooth jazz, but valve ' who's Watching Who comes ' funkier about. A soulful smooth jazz cd, which gives you a good feeling. Ideal to relax. 

Patrick Van Rensburg

 A soulful album that gives you a good feeling. Ideal for relaxing.

Buckeye Review

Darryl Alexander Hits Up The Burgh With "Transitions  "

 

Chances are that if you have listened to Saturday Night Live (NBC), Good Morning America (ABC), The Weather Channel, E Entertainment, Lifetime, Fox Business, Maury Povich, or flown on Continental, Airtran, Frontier, or Jetblue that you have heard music by jazz artist/producer/composer Darryl Alexander Sr. Darryl's release of his new contemporary jazz recording, titled "Transitions," features performances by a quartet of Pittsburgh, PA stellar musicians. Guitarist Ken Karsh, saxophonist Kenny Blake, and pianist Brett Williams provide the soul and heat on Alexander's new record. The fourth member of the quartet, Buddy Hall of Beacon Hills Studio, while not performing on the new record certainly contributed mightily as the recording engineer on six songs. “What I most enjoy about working with this group is that there is a lightheartedness in their soul, and it comes out in their performances,” says Darryl. Each has unique skill and artistry and all are adept at providing masterful interpretations of one's musical compositions. In fact, Ronald Jackson of thesmoothjazzride.com adds, "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."

"I remember Kenny Blake saying one day in the studio that EMS personnel see some pretty horrific things every day. As artists we have an opportunity to make someone’s day just a little bit lighter, little bit easier, even if just for a moment.

 “One of my most recent enjoyable performances was with Ken Karsh and Kenny Blake at the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation National Loss Conference in. It truly was a blessing to be able to contribute to the important work and mission of this noteworthy foundation,” says Darryl. The highlights of this evening were the ensemble improvisation of two songs (This Masquerade, a Marcus Miller selection, along with a set ending performance of Darryl’s song Café Rio.

Boardman, Ohio resident Alexander, who usually records in Cleveland, OH says that it was Kenny Blake's idea to record in Pittsburgh. "Buddy Hall has a way of causing everyone to relax and have an enjoyable time. Interesting is the fact that during his college years (Kent State University) the first band that Darryl was a member of a featured In Living Color comedian AJ Jamal on keyboards and renown poet and KSU professor Mwatabu Okantah on percussion and lead vocals. “Transitions” is available at iTunes, Amazon, and Cdbaby.

The Smooth Jazz Ride

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 spell 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

Jazz Review .com

CD Title: This Way Year: 2008 Record Label: DAP Entertainment Style: Smooth Jazz Review: Darryl Alexander is an artist who makes smooth jazz that is satiny smooooooooth. On his new CD This Way, he has written a collection of twelve dreamy, lush and delectable songs that carry you away to a heavenly place. To assist him on his etheral mellow mission he has two very talented saxophonists: Kenny Blake (Heads Up International recording artist) and Mark Earley from the group Roomful of Blues. Also along on the journey are Ken Harsh on guitar, Wilber Krebbs on bass guitar and Alton Merrell and Pete Tokar on various keyboards. "This Ways" opening cut is the beautiful "Burning Bush," a prime candidate for smooth jazz radio play. A mid-tempo song as cool as a spring evening, the melody flows along beautifully aided by tinkling piano (Alton Merrell) and a sax (Mark Earley) that sounds like spring birds in the meadows. A perfect choice to begin the CD. The title track "This Way" is piano driven (Pete Tokar) with percussive claps and a moody sax all assisting in a nice melody that is hard to resist. "Tonight (Song for April)" benefits from Kenny Blake's sublime alto sax that oozes sensuality. "Silent Cries" showcases Darryl's drums in tandem with some stellar urban-jazz sax work. "Cafe Rio" has a seductive latin flavor as the title implies. A sexy saxophone is grouped with latin-styled smooth guitar, courtesy of Ken Harsh, and tender keys (Pete Tokar) to create a breezy Brazilian atmosphere that is quite pleasing. "Music in my Soul" is a slower tempo number enhanced by piano and sax interplay and a tasteful melody that I've quickly come to love. "Freedom" is enchantingly luscious and while fresh, is still familiar sounding upon first listen. A highly pleasing melody blending sax and guitar gets taken to a higher place when the organ joins the mix. "Thank You Lord" is slower paced and reflective. The alto saxophone of Kenny Blake on this one is heavenly devine. The mellow soprano sax supplied by Mark Earley on "Shake It Up" is soulful and emotive and takes the spotlight. The shaking being done on this song is softly supplied, like a baby's cradle being lovingly rocked. It fits the overall mood of the CD perfectly, like a tongue and groove joint. "Candle in the Dark," with some fine ensemble playing by all involved, is yet another standout track. Darryl's drums and percussion are expertly handled, as they are throughout the CD. The song moves into a bluesier mood, but remains smooth. "Party's Over" closes the CD with a bit of an urban feel, with wah-wah guitar accentuating the insistent drum beat. The sax, as throughout the entire CD, shines brightly. I've always been a fan of releases done by drummers, especially those such as Darryl who never attempt to hog the glory. In fact, upon first listen one would suspect that this is a release by a saxophonist. Alexander has assembled a fine group of like-minded musicians for this session making it a most memorable release. He is a masterful tunesmith and his production values are top-notch throughout. This Way holds up well upon repeated listenings and I highly recommend it. Artist's Website: http://ats.darrylalexander.com/ Reviewed by: Randall Parrish

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Transitions - The new record by Darryl Alexander

 

 

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