Alex Hitchcock: Dream Band

Likely Potter-inspired saxophonist pulls together 50 players and a diverse range of styles via his unifying musical personality

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Alex Hitchcock needs no introduction. As Walter Smith III put, he’s “an incredible saxophonist, with something very unique and original to say”. His highly acclaimed 2018 debut album, All Good Things, with Barcelona-based label Fresh Sound, received a warm reception from the international jazz media and since then he hasn’t looked back.

There’s no obvious theme in the track listing and it’s wise to think of these pieces according to the musicians playing on them rather than as a complete entity. In total, 50 musicians appear on Dream Band, from both sides of the Atlantic, playing a collection of novel compositions. Winner of Jazz FM’s Vocalist of the Year 2019, Cherise Adams-Burnett makes an appearance on two of the tracks alongside BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year 2020 Deschanel Gordon on piano.

All 12 original tunes are energetic and inventive. It’s hard not to imagine Hitchcock is inspired by saxophonists such as Chris Potter. The title track features New-York-based tenor saxophonist Chris Cheek who originally introduced Hitchcock to the Catalonian label while the track To Love Itself features Adams-Burnett and is sandwiched between two others aptly named Intro and Outro. It may seem Dream Band lacks cohesion, but that’s where Hitchcock fits in. His versatile sound and ability appears to suit each ensemble naturally, bringing this set of songs together.

It would be nice to see the three ensembles here expand individually and create something special. Hitchcock is clearly heading in the right direction with Dream Band.

Discography
Wolf And Nina; Yeshaya; Intro; To Love Itself; Outro; Fstl; Move 37; Azalea; Embers; Overcome Any Obstacle With A Horse; Simulacra; And Then (58.57)
Personnel including Hitchcock, Chris Cheek (ts); Deschanel Gordon, Noah Stoneman, Will Barry (p); Will Sach, Ferg Ireland, Joe Downard (b); Jas Kayser, Shane Forbes (d); Luisito Quintero (pc); Midori Jaeger (v, vc); Cherise Adams-Burnett (v); David Adewumi (t). Fish Factory, London, May 2021.
Fresh Sound Records FSNT 625