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In the last 15 years, our rush to anoint dozens of twenty-somethings as the new ‘marketable’ heroes of jazz, we have overlooked many master musicians. Recently though, I see that trend reversing. Artists such as Tommy Flanagan, John Lewis, and Hank Jones have signed domestic label recording contracts. With major label signings come their deserved critical acclaim and attention. Let me add to that list of masters deserving attention: Kirk Lightsey, Barry Harris, John Hicks, and George Cables.
Cables, born 1944, has been known domestically as a sideman to the likes of Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard, and Bobby Hutcherson. Perhaps he is best known for and loved as the anchor for alto saxophonist Art Pepper’s return to form. The late seventies to early eighties recordings for Galaxy Records are some of the purest emotion ever captured on record. Like Flanagan, Cables embodies the history of jazz bebop piano. His confident approach to these mostly jazz standards is never labored or tiresome. The trio hands us the now familiar with the respect each composition deserves. But this is jazz and respect can go hand-in-hand with bluesy swing. Take the near-pop hit, Randy Weston’s “Hi-Fly,” a waltz that has a groove so thick it dares you not to dance. Luckily this is the 21st century and all of Cables’ recordings for the Danish label are available stateside.
Track List:In Your Own Sweet Way; Easy Living; There Is No Love; Voodoo Lady; Come Rain Or Come Shine; A Night In Tunisia; Hi-Fly; Bluesology; Ebony Moonbeams; How Deep Is The Ocean.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.