Alexander McCabe: Quiz (2010)

By Published: | 3,763 views
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Alexander McCabe: Quiz
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
Uri Caine
Uri Caine
b.1956
piano
, bassist Ugonna Okegwo, and drummers Gregory Hutchinson
Gregory Hutchinson
Gregory Hutchinson
b.1970
drums
and Rudy Royston
Rudy Royston
Rudy Royston

drums
. 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 Jackie McLean
Jackie McLean
Jackie McLean
1932 - 2006
sax, alto
and Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
1928 - 1964
reeds
, on a set of five McCabe originals and two covers.

But it's straight-ahead on the opener, "Weezie," a bright, sunny swinger—sometimes a waltz, sometimes not. On "Lonnegan," McCabe cranks up the intensity factor a couple of notches, with some searing alto and a boiling rhythm. Caine gets an ebulliently nuanced turn on the keys. The release's title tune begins by prowling shadowy streets, gathering energy as it pushes ahead into brighter territory.

The disc's centerpiece and highlight, the standard "Good Morning Heartache," begins with rolling thunderclouds in the mode of John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
's Impulse! Records Quartet with McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
b.1938
piano
, Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
1927 - 2004
drums
and Jimmy Garrison
Jimmy Garrison
Jimmy Garrison
1934 - 1976
bass, acoustic
, before gelling into freewheeling fluidity, with McCabe at his most inspired. The quartet, with a spontaneous interplay, explores the beauty of the familiar tune before McCabe takes thing out, with an interlude of anguish.

"St. Pat" is a funky beatification, with McCabe's sharp lines and Caine's free-flying piano work, and the closer, "How Little We Know" brings things back to the straight-ahead mode with a casual rhythmic restraint behind McCabe's tangy alto.

Quiz is step forward for Alexander McCabe, an excellent mainstream—and sometimes not quite mainstream—offering.

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 (1, 4-7); Greg Hutchinson: drums (2, 3).

Record Label: Consolidated Artists Productions


comments powered by Disqus
Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

or search site with Google