Cecil Alexander

Introducing Cecil Alexander

The award-winning Michigan guitarist, widely heard on Instagram, was inspired by his dad’s passion for jazz and vintage soul music. His debut effort combines originals and covers that manage to sound timeless, yet adding a fresh and distinctive edge. Working in a ’60s-organ-trio setting (with B3 player Will Gorman and drummer Steven Crammer), Alexander spins inventive lines, his youth adding a level of vitality balancing the old-school retro feel.

Alexander flies freely, adding double-time passages to a samba-driven take on Bobby Hutcherson’s “Til Then” and his own boppish “9th Round.” He spices up a dignified, majestic treatment of the Donny Hathaway R&B favorite “Someday We’ll All Be Free” with tasty, Montgomery-esque octaves. “Bright Green” serves as Alexander’s homage to longtime hero Grant Green.

Everyone excels on the medium-tempo blues “Captain Bailey.” The ensemble, with Alexander again adding octaves, offers a playful interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Love You Madly.” His relaxed approach to John Coltrane’s 1964 hard-bopper “Central Park West” allows for loose and free interaction with Gorman, who plays an inventive break before handing it back to Alexander. Throughout, the guitarist demonstrates the creativity, technique, and musical self-awareness to become a major voice.

This article originally appeared in VG’s December 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

No posts to display