Are we having fun yet? Saxophonist Alexander McCabe and pianist Paul Odeh are, on a rollicking duo outing, This Is Not A Pipe. The frequent collaborators delve into a loose-jointed, roll and tumble examination of some jazz standards and McCabe originals. The word seamless" is an often used--some would say over-used--as a description of a recorded offering. This Is Not A Pipe is not that. It is about as Un-seamless as can be. It sounds as if two good friends who can say anything to each other have gotten themselves involved in a relaxed and kicked-back free-for-all conversation, ...read more
Quiz, alto saxophonist Alexander McCabe's second album as leader, appears five years after his previous release, The Round (Wamco Music, 2005). McCabe has been a member of Ray Charles' Orchestra and ska band Mephiskapheles, as well as working with jazz greats like Joe Henderson and Ray Brown. He cites tenor giants Ben Webster, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins as influences, but it's altoists like Charlie Parker and Eric Dolphy that impact most clearly on his sound. The overall style of the music is straight-ahead, although the tunes occasionally show a more overtly bebop influence. This is particularly ...read more
Alto saxophonist/composer Alexander McCabe returns from a five-year recording hiatus with the swinging, accessible, and sometimes surprisingly adventurous Quiz.The Round (Wamco Music, 2005), McCabe's previous offering, was a superb mainstream set, with a hint of the Irish barroom on the title tune. Quiz once again displays the artist's mainstream frame of mind in a vibrant ensemble featuring pianist Uri Caine, bassist Ugonna Okegwo, and drummers Greg Hutchinson and Rudy Royston. Where The Round had a more traditional jazz atmosphere, Quiz pushes those boundaries more, with the leader's sax giving off a more wildly-searching vibe, in the mode of ...read more
Mostly through original tunes, The Round explores diverse music without straying too far from the jazz realm. This is evident from the first track, Floating, where saxophonist Alexander McCabe goes into a bossa nova-esque direction (the opening notes are immediately reminiscent of Jobim's Chovendo Na Roseira ), reminding me of how much I loved Getz's incursions into that genre. That is not all the tune has to offer, however--McCabe shows off accomplished improvisational chops, while the other musicians lend subtle but effective backing. Pianist Joe Barbato switches to the accordion for the title track, a fun song ...read more
You've got to give credit to altoist Alexander McCabe for providing the music on his debut recording at his own pace, which means initially unhurried and lyrical, yet full of ideas. McCabe may be a free blower in clubs, but you'd never know it here.
Originally from Boston, Alexander McCabe worked with two of the more significant jazz big bands of the last few decades--those led by Ray Charles and Arturo O'Farrill--and studied with veteran tenor saxophonist George Coleman. He is joined on this album by pianist/accordionist Joe Barbato, bassist Ugonna Okegwo, and drummer Steve Jobs. ...read more
In a career that has spanned two decades, Alexander McCabe has played with Chico O'Farrill, Harold Mabern, and Ray Charles, which should say something about his playing on the alto saxophone. He counts John Coltrane and Charlie Parker among his influences, and their mark is evident in his playing. However, it is quite a different thing to go out and write tunes and record an album. While there is no doubt that McCabe has what it takes to give a composition some grit, he can also go the other way and shoot a tune with an overabundance of notes.read more
The Round comes to life on a swaying melody, with the leader's engaging composition Floating." Alto saxophonist Alexander McCabe's blows in with an Art Pepper-like intensity inside the tune's drifitng ambiance, an atmosphere that he and the band achieve with a seeming ease.McCabe studied with George Coleman, an undersung Miles Davis sideman during the very early sixties--an undersung period in Davis's ever-evolving sound. Altoist McCabe seems to have absorbed some of Coleman's subtle, sneak-up-on-you eloquence, and the master's storytelling gift that keeps you riveted and coming back for multiple listens.McCabe penned five of the eight tunes ...read more
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