Alex began playing the alto saxophone when he was twelve years old. At the age of fifteen, he began performing with The John Payne Saxophone Choir through his first teacher, Duncan Martin, at the Tam O'Shanter in Harvard square Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Alex went on to study music at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and in 1995, Alex relocated to San Francisco and began performing with local groups like One Nation Underground, The Unknown Giants, and The Dutch Falcone Orchestra.
During this time Alex studied with Roberto DeHaven, minister and musician for the Saint John's Orthodox church, also known as the John Coltrane church. In 1996, Alex took the first alto chair in the Glen Spearman/Marco Ineidi Creative Music Orchestra and recorded with such luminaries as Wadada Leo Smith, Bertram Turetsky, and Jackson Krall. At this time, Alex began doubling on tenor saxophone and formed his first quartet under his own name. This group included DeHaven on saxophones, Ben Pfeuffer on bass and Paul Spina on drums. In 1997 the group recorded its first album, Make Your Own Lightning.