A fine straight-ahead jazz saxophonist, Eric Alexander grew up in the state of Washington. He initially attended Indiana University, studying classical music as an altoist. However, he soon discovered jazz, switched to the tenor, and transferred to William Paterson College in New Jersey. After graduating, he moved to Chicago and gained important experience touring with Charles Earland while also becoming a fixture in local clubs. Influenced by Dexter Gordon and George Coleman, but gradually developing a more original sound, Alexander has also worked with Mel Rhyne, Cecil Payne, Kenny Barron, and Eddie Henderson, among others.
In 1991, Alexander placed second at the Thelonious Monk Institute's saxophone competition, finishing just behind Joshua Redman. In 1992, he relocated to New York and made his recording debut as a leader with New York Calling on Criss Cross. Alexander recorded two additional sets as a leader for Criss Cross, was part of their Tenor Triangle session, and cut several heated CDs for Delmark, including one that he co-led with veteran tenor Lin Halliday. His 11th album, Man with a Horn, was licensed for U.S. release in 1999 by Milestone, which also issued the follow-up, The First Milestone, in 2000.