Primary Instrument: Drums
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. Years ago, Darryl had sent a CD of 10 songs to DSM Producers CEO Suzan Bader. Her company is administered Worldwide by Warner Chappell. Darryl had not heard from DSM for a while, and was unaware that DSM had just moved to a new suite to a larger office complex in New York. A box of CD's had been left by the moving company. The new tenant saw them and carried them to DSM's new suite. Ironically, Darryl's CD was at the top of the stack and Ms. Bader promptly gave it a listen. Within a matter of 2 days, she contacted Darryl and an offer was made to publish these original 10 songs, with Warner publishing them internationally. This one small thing has probably been the greatest asset in my musical career, says Darryl, and is a door that without God's intervention would not be open....
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 Way’s 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 Crys showcases Darryl’s drums in tandem with some stellar urban-jazz saxwork.
Café 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.
Reviewed by: Randall Parrish
By Jeremiah Sutherland www.bullfrogmusic.com
When listening to a CD prior to reviewing it, I like to do different stuff…driving with the top down on a sunny day is one of those things. Driving from the ferry terminal to the bustling downtown of Victoria proved to be just the right amount of time to listen to Darryl Alexander’s release, “This Way”.
This is a smooth jazz instrumental release leavened with a little funk and a titch of hip-hop.
The music moves along nicely with no snooze-inducing stretches of soporific strings or annoying acapella vocal riffs.
Recommendation: Good Smooth Jazz album that stands out from the herd.
Darryl Alexander .. Diamond In The Sky .. DAP Entertainment .. CD Reviews / CD Reviews By John Gilbert This is an album that is as smooth as silk and that is as smooth as it can get. For the afficionados of this type of music, it will be candy for you auditory senses. The eleven tunes on this CD are all written and arranged by Alexander with the exception of Plumb line written by Herb McMullen and Darryl Alexander. I would characterize this recording as mood music for a late night date accompanied by some fine wine and an exotic meal, a perfect setting for a romantic rendezvous. The music is non abrasive with no fuss or clutter, no torrent of notes to assail the ear, simply warm sounds for the romantically inclined. 4 Stars John Gilbert - ejazznews.com
Drummer DARRYL ALEXANDER, SR. leads a soulful ensemble in soft, contemporary melodies that cast a DIAMOND IN THE SKY (DAP 200048) above urban scenes that can never be as peaceful as the night sky. Saxophonists Kenny Blake and Kenny Anderson, and others, romp leisurely through a comfortable program of originals (3rd Eye/ Too Late for Love/ Cafe Rio/ Garden of My Heart/ West Coast Sunrise/ Plumb Line/ Ancient Of Days/ Who's That Girl/ Feel Your Love/ Gizmo Babies/ Stolen Moments. 50:22. Both saxophones wail mournfully as the music walks down the street without stopping to look right or left Smooth as satin and focused on one goal the session moves gracefully without hurrying, and settles down to a slow fade to close. Blake and Anderson add repetitive nuances to embellish each of these breezy melodies, as the rhythm section provides backbeats and a mellow drive. Alexander leads with a strong hand and offers a few brief solos. His textures do not vary, and his beat remains solid. Such comfortable mood music would become boring, were it not for the minor asides that pop up now and then. Kim Pensyl tosses in a few trumpet and f1ugelhorn phrases from time to time, and guitarist Ken Karsh adds tender soliloquies. One piece recalls the Doo-Wop era, while another adds just a touch of Rio. In all, Alexander's latest album provides soothing mood music for a lazy afternoon or for a leisurely evening of unwinding. Jim Santella Jim Santella - Cadence Magazine
Featured Artist: Darryl Alexander CD Title: Tea for Two Record Label: DAP Entertainment Genre: Contemporary Jazz
Review: If the current trend continues, Darryl Alexander will conti!1ue to rise. The multi-instrumentalist is truly tough in his own right He is joined by musicians such as Ken Karsh (lead and rhythmn guitar), Mark Early (tenor, soprano and alto sax), Jackie Warren (piano solos), on most of the tracks. While one could say that his sound is smooth like Kenny G's, much more is going on here in terms of mood and style. Alexander has many musical credits to his name, which are well publicized, including soundtracks and television shows. The strongest tracks are probably Can This Be Love, Mirage, and Just Another Attitude, and that is subject to debate. Those were selected because of the strong solos by the nucleus of the group working with him. However, there are no weak tracks and that's most important to note. Changing of the Guard sounds like a modem variation on bossa nova and it's quite spicy. The tracks are average length and give more aural energy to the listener than they take. Mark Early deserves more than honorable mention, as his contribution to this CD is stellar. Alexander and company are worthy of the high praise received in the media This is some funky, stylish and sophisticated contemporary jazz. Listeners who dislike jazz should be very inspired to change their ways and open their ears. Rating: Five Stars Reviewed by: Denai Burbank Denai Burbank - Jazz Review.COM Tea For Two DAP Entertainment
Smooth and satisfying is how I can best describe Tea For Two, the new album from producer/songwriter Darryl Alexander. The first track, “Can This Be Love,” is a delightful romantic track featuring tasty solos from Ken Karsh and alto saxophonist Mark Early. Early switches to soprano sax and flows throughout the second track, “Mirage,” which also features pianist Jackie Warren. Karsh shines on track five, “Let’s Take A Chance” with highlights from Alexander on drums & percussion. The tempo picks up on “Ms. Information,” an R&B/smooth jazz track reminiscent of David Sanborn. “Ms. Information,”features Karsh and Warren who shine on this track with their solos. The entire album was written and produced by Alexander and holds up as one of the best smooth jazz albums this year (DK) DK - The Urban Network
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