Mike LeDonne and Eric Alexander lead new sextet The Heavy Hitters

Pianist Mike LeDonne and tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander co-lead a new sextet called The Heavy Hitters that calls upon “the timelessness of old Blue Note sounds” on their eponymous debut album.

LeDonne is best known for his work with Milt Jackson and Benny Golson as well as his large selection of leader and co-leader records. Alexander is known as a first-rate soloist who has worked with Harold Mabern and others, and previously played with LeDonne on a well-received series of releases with Venus Records in the mid-2000s.

The pair is joined here by trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, alto saxophonist Vincent Herring, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington.

Listen to Chainsaw below:

With their nine-track, self-titled recording of all original material, The Heavy Hitters intended to emulate some of their jazz heroes while adding a modern-day twist.

“It’s not to look back, but to say, ‘This is still relevant because this is happening right now.’ It’s pretty much what we’ve been doing our whole lives,” the group says.

Throughout the album, The Heavy Hitters pay tribute to legends including Freddie Hubbard, Horace Silver, Cedar Walton, Getz/Gilberto and George Coleman.

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Here’s the track listing:

  1. Hub
  2. New Day
  3. Silverdust
  4. Un Dia Es Un Dia
  5. Big Richard
  6. Chainsaw
  7. This is Something New
  8. Cedar Land
  9. Bluesit

The Heavy Hitters’ eponymous album is out Jan. 20, 2023, via Cellar Music Group.