Jazz Album of the Week: Eclipse—14-Year-Old Pianist Joey Alexander Reaches for the Sky

May 7, 2018

May 6, 2018.  Releasing an album that contains six original compositions, a couple of standards, a Lennon/McCartney interpretation, and a trip to church is quite a feat. At the age of 14 it might seem impossible…but not for piano phenom Joey Alexander. Eclipse is his fourth album, and it does not disappoint.

To add to the venture, Alexander secured high-caliber jazz artists including Reuben Rogers (bass) and Eric Harland (drums).  He even got saxophonist Joshua Redman to be a guest artist. Is there anything this prodigy cannot do?  

Recording for Eclipse began on August 21, 2017, the day of the solar eclipse. The song “Eclipse” was not  on the original set list. In fact, it didn’t exist yet. But Joey was so enchanted by the celestial spectacle he wrote the piece during the three-day studio session and recorded it in one take.

“Fourteen,” another Alexander original, is one of the cuts that showcases tenor sax man Joshua Redman. It's full of energy, and likely a reflection of Joey’s busy year.

Eclipse channels Bill Evans on “Time Remembered,” and treats the The Beatles’ “Blackbird” with the sensibility of a seasoned master. The trip to church comes from the gospel-infused version of the Fanny Conroy hymn “Draw Me Nearer,” which enhances the wide variety of sound this album radiates.

At fourteen, you can’t say that Joey Alexander is “going places.” He’s already been to so many. I can’t wait to see what fifteen brings.