The New York All Stars – Burnin’ in London

Album Review | Ubuntu Music | Review by Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

My one and only trip to Birdland – New York’s premier jazz club – was inspired by my adoration of two great sax men. The concert, back in 2012, was a celebration of the late, great John Coltrane and was led by renowned hard-bop player Eric Alexander, a saxophonist who has been building a towering reputation since his 1992 debut. It was, without a doubt, the finest jazz concert I’ve seen and only cemented the respect I have for this masterful player. This month, Eric releases Burnin’ in London, a recording of a rattling two-night engagement with the New York All Stars at London’s Pizza Express Jazz Club back in November 2017. As well as Eric’s animated and venturesome playing, as well as his sudden and sizzling bursts of Coltrane-inspired riffs, the album benefits from the ebullient piano of legendary jazzman Harold Mabern, the octogenarian pianist who has sided for such luminaries as Sonny Rollins, Lee Morgan, Freddy Hubbard and Blue Mitchell. These two outstanding players are at their spirited best on such standards as “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes”, just two of the six tracks that make up this juggernaut of a set. The line-up is completed by France-based American bassist Darryl Hall and Austria’s Bernd Reiter on drums, a powerhouse rhythm section that keep this magnetic set rolling along superbly.