The title refers to the saxophonist's debut Milestone disc as a leader but it could just as easily refer to the music within. Alexander proves himself a rare breed of saxophonist - hard driving and muscular but soft on edges. Though Larry Hollis' notes suggest an affinity to the Sonny Rollins school, I here the strong likes of Jerry Bergonzi or further back to Tina Brooks.
The tempos throughout are swift and challenging and Alexander gets Pat Martino to loosen up the chops for some limber playing. The two men each - at separate points in their careers - played with organist Charles Earland and that sense of groove shows with both adding an ever so slight touch of the blues to their bop chops. Mabern is his ever graceful self and Peter Washington shows off his timekeeping with his usual understated glory.
The disc starts off with three originals from the leader - "Stand Pat" obviously written for Martino. Alexander then has the gall to tackle film schlockster John Williams' theme from "The Towering Inferno" - and make it a credible jazz offering. Perhaps my favorite moment on this solid disc is the great Harold Arlen ballad "Last Night When We Were Young". After a chiming intro by Mabern, the sax man enters with a bittersweet pair of verses accompanied only by the pianist. Then Washington and Farnsworth join and Alexander stretches out on the lovely melody. He embraces a warm tone and a supple sense of lilting bounce that launches the ballad into swing pattern. His three partners are right there with him. It's a trick that shows Eric Alexander will be around for quite awhile spinning jazz yarns as good as these.