Like From The Golden Era: The Heavy Hitters (Cellar 2023)


Cellar Live, founded by Cory Weeds in 2001, is a record label that has released nearly 300 albums. Mostly records timeless, exquisite albums that always swing and make albums that correspond to jazz in mind. I always get very excited when I come across Cellar Records’ album announcements. There are some very good albums among the albums announced this year. One of the first to hit my radar is The Heavy Hitters.

In this album, Co-leaders pianist Mike LeDonne and sax player Eric Alexander at the helm. As a very experienced tenorist Alexander is known especially for his long-time collaborator, Harold Mabern, for his performances that dust off the clubs. Mike LeDonne is one of the names who gained experience as a stage partner of giants such as Milt Jackson and Benny Golson. Jeremy Pelt and Vincent Herring are in charge of woodwinds. They both are band leaders of their own projects too. The rhythm section is entrusted to Bill Charlap’s companions creditable musicians Kenny Washington and Peter Washington. Rale Micic is on the guitar in the track Chainsaw.

In this album, the band commemorates masters such as Cedar Walton, Freedie Hubbard, Horace Silver and others whose names are seen in given as track names. For these musicians who have spent their whole lives with jazz, this is to showcase a live jazz that comes from tradition, rather than a journey into the past. They have already know how the real jazz listeners like to listen.

Alexander and LeDonne have known each other for 25 years. It is impossible for the partnership to come out of a failed work, but when each of the team members became irreplaceable jazz masters, a first-class jazz craftsmanship was created.

From the album cover by John Sellards, which evokes Reid Miles‘ album covers, to the immaculate recording quality of the Rudy Van Gelder Studio, everything is as it should be. Heavy Hitters is a modern day reflection of Blue Note Records’ quality-guaranteed stellar era. An up-tempo mainstream jazz album with unchanged chemistry with non-jazz genres.

You can buy the album here

Burak Sülünbaz

Co-Founder, Jazz Writer // Kurucu Ortak, Caz Yazarı

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