Alek Razdan And The A-Train Orchestra

Alek Razdan And The A-Train Orchestra


By Lady K
May 2013

Visit artist page

Somewhere in Massachusetts, lives a “kid” named Alek Razdan (he’s 17), who was evidently born with a saxophone clasped in his hands – he sounds like he’s been playing for at least 17 years. And he not “only” plays sax (tenor and soprano), but also writes a mean tune, and sings. The A-Train Orchestra includes Ken Demaine (bass), Dan Whalen (guitar), Dave Vincent (drums), and Rikki Razdan (tenor/baritone sax).

This group brings back the “big band” sound, with plenty of boogie-ing blues, jump, jive – you’ll be wishing for a dance floor, and someone to twirl, or to be twirled by. Most of the tunes included on Two-Timin’ have been around for many, many years, and the A-Train Orchestra treats them as the masterpieces they have become. Nearly all of the tracks are instrumental, with only 2 songs included (seriously, Lady K was so into the music, she didn’t miss vocals at all). While not a strictly blues album, the blues is there, along with jazz, rock, and fun.

Two of the tunes on this album were written by the child prodigy (aka Alek Razdan) and they are terrific. The jive-y “Two-Timin’”, with its insane horns, and the rip-roaring “A-Train Boogie” are up-tempo instrumentals that scream for swing-dancers to get out on the dance floor and do their thing. “A-Train Boogie” has a rocking guitar intro, and is then joined by plenty of brass.

“Mello Saxophone” (by Montrell, Marascalco, Blackwell) has a big band boogie sound and Alek is the vocalist. The slow, sexy “Sleepwalk” is so yummy, at first I thought it was the original Santo and Johnny version (1959) – very cool to hear it again, and it’s music that was just made for slow-dancing.

Dan Whalen shows his honor and appreciation of Albert Collins and his blues instrumental “Backstroke.” The a-m-a-z-i-n-g “September Song” brings on another stroll down memory lane, another slow, sexy oldie that Boomers will recognize immediately.

Alek finally stretches his vocal cords again, on a very cool, rocking blues tune - Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson’s “Looking Back.” Alek Razdan and the A-Train Orchestra’s version of Jimmy Spruill’s “Lonely Island” is haunting and beautifully done. They make you feel the lonely sadness of the island.

As I said, it isn’t all blues, but Lady K thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the music of Alek Razdan and the A-Train Orchestra.

<- back to Features