DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE REVIEWS GLENN ALEXANDER (SELF-TITLED)
GUITAR WORLD REVIEWS “GLENN ALEXANDER (SELF TITLED)”
Can the guy play? Are the Kennedys gun-shy?
Actually, Glenn flaunts sizzling fusion chops in a power trio context with drummer Bill Elder and current Dregs bassist Dave La Rue, captured on the dynamic Stretch album of a few years back (Half Track Records, 444 N. 3rd St. Philadelphia, PA 19123). While this outing is an attempt at bringing Glenn’s compositional aspect into clearer focus, the guiarist still carefully works his considerable technique into the scheme of things.
“Westfield” is actually the weakest tune on the album, certainly not my choice to lead off. It’s tame, Metheny-esque fare with the accent on pleasant melodies. A much better first impression would have been “Maze,” an extended vehicle for Glenn’s impressive guitar prowess, or “The Master,” a blatant tip-of-the-hat to Holdsworth with its tricky meters, crisp arpeggios and sheets-of-sound legato lines on the distortion-laced Charvel. “Alpine Road” is a probing, daring suite featuring Glenn’s ethereal volume swells behind drummer Ben Smith’s nimble bashing and Mino Cinelu’s colorful percussion work. Glenn builds his solo gracefully on this moody piece, beginning with sparse statements and nuance, then building to some Pat Martino-type single-note flurries before kicking on the fuzz and taking it up a notch in intensity.
Trumpeter Randy Brecker is the featured soloist on two cuts, the sublime ballad “Those Closest” and an ambitious piece called “Someone,” wherein the guitarist and trumpeter navigate unison lines through some tricky harmonic territory.
Yes, the influences do creep in now and again. But Alexander does hit some inspired peaks on this fine album. He’s making great strides toward establishing his own voice. Alexander rates right up there at the head of the pack of post-Metheny fusion players. — Bill Milkowski