George Cables: Bluesology
Columnist since 1999An avid audiophile and music collector, Hovan is a Cleveland-based writer/photographer.
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We don't get enough of George Cables these days. You know how it is; record for those little independent labels and somehow you just get lost in the major league shuffle. Look a little deeper and you'll find that Cables has made some great trio music in recent days, with two dates coming to my mind in particular, Night and Day on the Japanese DIW label and Cables' Fables from the pianist's SteepleChase oeuvre. Apparently the alliance with the latter concern has proven productive because there's been a great stream of trio discs to come as the product of that relationship, with Bluesology the most recent to get a Stateside release.
Taking nothing away from its predecessors, Bluesology is a distinguished Cables affair while also being just one damn good piano trio record. The focus is mainly on standards, but what this ensemble does with them is anything but standard fare. Just take the opening Brubeck classic, "In Your Own Sweet Way," which sports a catchy introductory vamp that also provides a launching pad for the solos. Cables' voicings are rich and robust (captured with great finesse by engineer Josiah Gluck), while his improvisational style gains much from a forward momentum, aided further by Billy Drummond's quicksilver drumming.
The two Cables originals contained herein are both winners, leaving one with a desire to have had more of his blithe lines thrown into the mix. "Voodoo Lady," as the title might suggest, gets its energy from a rumba beat and thick two-handed block chords from Cables. The lengthier "Ebony Moonbeams" is built upon an eighth-note feel and has an extended form complete with creative periods of tension and release. Then, all of a sudden Drummond kicks into a sprightly samba beat for a spell, only to later find Cables' haunting refrain at the forefront. And yet these are just two highlights among many. Can you say "highly recommended?"
Track Listing: In Your Own Sweet Way, Easy Living, There Is No Greater Love, Voodoo Lady, Come Rain or Come Shine, A Night in Tunisia, Hi- Fly, Bluesology, Ebony Moonbeams, How Deep Is the Ocean (69:29)
Personnel: George Cables- piano, Jay Anderson- bass, Billy Drummond- drums