Alexander McCabe: Quiz (2010)

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Alexander McCabe: Quiz
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
Ray Charles
Ray Charles
1930 - 2004
piano
' Orchestra and ska band Mephiskapheles, as well as working with jazz greats like Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
Joe Henderson
1937 - 2001
sax, tenor
and Ray Brown
Ray Brown
Ray Brown
1926 - 2002
bass, acoustic
. He cites tenor giants Ben Webster
Ben Webster
Ben Webster
1909 - 1973
sax, tenor
, John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
and Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
as influences, but it's altoists like Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
and Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
1928 - 1964
reeds
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 the case on "Lonnegan" and "Kalido." Both tunes were recorded a year earlier than the rest of the album and feature Gregory Hutchinson
Gregory Hutchinson
Gregory Hutchinson
b.1970
drums
on drums. Hutchinson's tight and percussive drumming is a key feature of "Lonnegan," a driving blues tune centered on McCabe's hard-edged alto playing.

McCabe contributes five original compositions. "Weezie's Waltz," which actually moves between 3/4 and 5/4 time, is a bright, cheerful tune that features some light and fluid piano from Uri Caine
Uri Caine
Uri Caine
b.1956
piano
. "St. Pat" is the most intriguing of the five: a freer sounding tune than the rest of the album it features McCabe and Caine at their most inventive while Rudy Royston
Rudy Royston
Rudy Royston

drums
's drumming creates a real sense of movement and intensity.

The two covers—"Good Morning Heartache" and "How Little We Know"—are lovely, insistent, tunes. McCabe's version of "Good Morning Heartache" is an extended arrangement with a Bossa Nova feel that centers on McCabe's crisply-toned alto solo and Caine's contrastingly rich chordal playing. Bassist Ugonna Okegwo, who also played on The Round, adds his own solo in the closing minutes—it's a fat, rounded, sound that adds another dimension to the tune.

The sound on Quiz gives the album a real sense of a live club performance, even though all the tracks are studio recordings. With the possible exception of "St. Pat" McCabe's own compositions are pleasant rather than outstanding, but his playing is stylish and sympathetic. McCabe's band mates are talented musicians as well, and the ensemble ensures that Quiz is always enjoyable.

Track Listing: Weezie's Waltz; Lonnegan; Kalido; Quiz; Good Morning Heartache; St. Pat; How Little We Know.

Personnel: Alexander McCabe: alto saxophone; Uri Caine: piano; Ugonna Okegwo: bass; Rudy Royston: drums; Greg Hutchinson: drums (2, 3).

Record Label: Consolidated Artists Productions


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