The recordings bring to nine the number of mainstream jazz titles HighNote has released to date in 2006 and should solidify the company's position as America's most listened to jazz label over the past two years. Together HighNote and its sister label Savant Records had the most recordings on the JazzWeek Top-100 Year-End Jazz Charts for 2004 (9) and 2005 (15 - including six in the Top-25) as well as the most played jazz album of 2005 in the US - David Fathead" Newman's I Remember Brother Ray (HCD 7135). Four HighNote CDs are on the top 15 on the March 6, 2006 JazzWeek Top-50 chart with Newman's latest release, Cityscape (HCD 7150) occupying the #1 spot and The Big Push (HCD 7144) by pianist Larry Willis at #5.
Still in his 30s, saxophonist Eric Alexander has succeeded in establishing himself as an original voice within the illustrious bop-based jazz tradition both on his CDs as a leader and on the 60 to 70 (he's lost count) recordings on which he's appeared as a sideman. Recorded at the famed Van Gelder Studios under the watchful eyes of RVG, Alexander's new HighNote release It's All in the Game (HCD 7148) features the saxophonist in the company of pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Joe Farnsworth. The performances of the eight standards (e.g. All in the Game" and Where Or When"), the classic Monk ballad Ruby My Dear" and three new originals on the CD capture the telepathic ensemble playing of a close-knit quartet that regularly works together and whose members each have phenomenal chops and a wealth of mainstream jazz experience.
Since moving to New York in 1984 after attending Harvard University, Don Braden has established himself as one of the most impressive tenor saxophonists of his generation and been hailed by The NY Times as a brilliant and assured" player and as one of the young lions of the tenor saxophone" by venerable drummer Roy Haynes. It's remarkable that in addition to performing with Betty Carter, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and the Wynton Marsalis Quintet as well as stints with Tom Harrell, the Mingus Big Band, Art Farmer, Kenny Barron, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and many others, he has found time to maintain an active solo career as a leader. Recorded live with long-time friends organist Kyle Koehler and drummer Cecil Brooks III, Workin' (HCD 7155) showcases inspired Braden performances of six originals and three standards that sustain his well-earned reputation.
Ends and Means (HCD 7149), Vincent Herring's fourth CD as leader for HighNote, is arguably his best as it features his current working band of the hot young trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, rock-steady bassist Essiet Essiet, the dynamic drummer Joris Dudli and a fresh face and rising star on piano, Danny Grissett. A leader since he settled in New York in the mid-'80s, Herring also played with the late Nat Adderley though most of the 90's. He currently co-leads the Three Altos Sextet with Sonny Fortune and Gary Bartz as well as the Cannonball Legacy Band with Louis Hayes and is a mainstay of the New York jazz scene and a familiar face in the City's leading jazz venues when not touring the US and Europe. Herring is also the producer and music director of the February 2006 Savant release There's Something About You I Don't Know (SCD 2071), the recording debut of singer Pamela Luss who performs a set of standards accompanied by an assortment of jazz all- stars assembled for the sessions by the saxophonist including Mulgrew Miller, Russell Malone, Steve Turre, Tom Harrell, Jeremy Pelt, Gary Smulyan and Seamus Blake.