After studying music at the Boston Conservatory, Roland Alexander moved to New York City in 1958, where he played the hardbop scene with John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones, Mal Waldron, Roy Haynes, Max Roach, Blue Mitchell and Sonny Rollins. Apart from playing the tenor and soprano sax, he also worked as a pianist. His style, though rooted in bop, expanded to freer, more experimental works in the '60s and '70s. In 1969 he joined the group '360 Degree Music Experience' which was led by Beaver Harris and Grachan Moncur III. He played on albums by Charlie Persip, Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim) (African Space Program, 1973), Paul Chambers, Howard McGhee (Dusky Blue, 1960), Teddy Charles, James Spaulding (Songs of Courage, 1991) and Sam Rivers. He also backed singers Frank Minion and Betty Blake. As a leader, he recorded two albums. He kept working at the Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble.