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George Cables: Icons and Influences (2014)

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George Cables: Icons and Influences How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

When a jazz musician has been around as long as pianist George Cables
George Cables
George Cables
b.1944
piano
, and has seen, heard and performed with so many other world-class musicians, such interactions are bound to leave a lasting impression, and on the trio date Icons and Influences Cables warmly salutes a number of those who have helped frame his musical persona and escorted him along a journey of wonder and discovery that has enabled him to become the superbly talented artist he is today.

As most listeners would assume, several of Cables' influences are fellow pianists, and those remembered here include Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
1934 - 2013
piano
, Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
, Mulgrew Miller
Mulgrew Miller
Mulgrew Miller
1955 - 2013
piano
, Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
1920 - 2012
piano
and Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
. While Nat Cole, acknowledged with "The Very Thought of You," was also a pianist, Cables says he was inspired more by Cole's vocal talents, along with those of Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
b.1926
vocalist
, on Ray Noble's venerable standard. "Nature Boy," he writes, was prompted not by Cole but by tenor saxophonist John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
's instrumental version. Other tenors represented are Benny Golson
Benny Golson
Benny Golson
b.1929
sax, tenor
("Blue Heart") and Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
1937 - 2001
sax, tenor
("Isotope") as well as vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson
Bobby Hutcherson
Bobby Hutcherson
b.1941
vibraphone
("Little B's Poem"). Cables plumbs his own early years with "Happiness," the "first tune [he] wrote" while in his early 20s, and Trinidadian Lord Kitchener's "Mo' Pan," one of the many calypso tunes Cables played or heard while growing up in Brooklyn and Queens, NY.

Whatever the source, the salient point is that every one of these tunes shines like a polished gem in Cables' masterful hands. Tempos are flawless, interpretations admirable, ad-libs smooth and persuasive, the framework lucid and sunny yet emphatic when need be, as on "Isotope" or "Mo' Pan." As for the comfort zone, it is spacious, thanks to the unwavering resilience of bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Victor Lewis
Victor Lewis
Victor Lewis
b.1950
drums
whose cozy shelter is always close at hand. In every instance, Cables lays bare the unique essence of his role models, and nowhere is this more apparent than on Brubeck's "The Duke," Evans' "Very Early" or his own compositions, "Cedar Walton" and "Mulgrew Miller."

Dedications aside, this is a splendid trio session led by one of the jazz world's more proficient and accessible contemporary pianists. Full credit to Cables, Douglas and Lewis for a job well done.

Track Listing: Cedar Walton; Farewell Mulgrew; Happiness; The Duke; Come Sunday; Little B’s Poem; Nature Boy; Very Early; Isotope; The Very Thought of You; Mo’ Pan; Blue Heart.

Personnel: George Cables: piano; Dezron Douglas: bass; Victor Lewis: drums.

Record Label: HighNote Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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