The son of post-bop jazz saxophonist Roland Alexander, Taru Alexander began playing drums at the age of seven. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, he was surrounded by his dad’s friends and bandmates including Freddie Hubbard, Reggie Workman, and others. Taru’s first professional gigs came at the age of 13 as a member of his father’s quintet. His first recording came when he worked with Fred Houn and the Afro-Asian Music Ensemble on the 1985 album TOMORROW IS NOW! A well-known figure in the New York jazz scene, Taru became an in-demand sideman and recorded albums with Rodney Kendrick, Carlos Garnett, Sonny Simmons, and Salim Washington’s Harlem Arts. In all, Taru has appeared as a sideman on more than 50 albums. Outside of his recording commitments, toured or performed with Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, Branford Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Wynton Marsalis, Hank Jones, Carlos Garnett, and many others.
For his 2022 album, ECHOES OF THE MASTER, Taru Alexander has chosen to move forward while also looking back. In order to celebrate the musical legacy of his father and his father’s contemporaries, he gathered together an amazing group of musicians to record a handful of classic Jazz compositions but inject them with new energy. On the album, he is joined by Memphis-born pianist James Hurt, who has been part of the New York jazz scene for nearly three decades. The album also features saxophonist Antoine Roney and bassist Rashaan Carter, who Taru met on a recording session led by saxophonist Michael Marcus in 2008. The sessions also featured vocalist Hanka G, who scats and sings up a storm on “I Mean You”.
ECHOES OF THE MASTER begins with the group’s interpretation of Roland Alexander’s “Change Up”, a stellar opener filled with energy and swagger. The album continues to build energy with the previously mentioned take on Thelonious Monk and Coleman Hawkins’ “I Mean You”. The album also includes covers of Buster Williams’ “Deception”, McCoy Tyner’s “Peresina”, Wayne Shorter’s “Pinocchio”, and another Roland Alexander-penned track, “A Kojo Time”, which was written when Taru was born. While ECHOES OF THE MASTER is rooted in the past, it offers a fresh and invigorating spin on this material and of the genre. The album mixes Bebop with straight ahead Jazz and Taru’s unique skills as a leader and drummer, which brings Taru’s musical journey full circle.
ECHOES OF THE MASTER