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Art Pepper called him "Mr. Beautiful." Equally proficient as sideman or leader, George Cables has been producing quality jazz for the past thirty years. In addition to Pepper, he has provided support for an impressive list of masters, including Dexter Gordon, Frank Morgan, Joe Farrell, Frank Foster, Windard Harper, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, and Gary Bartz, the last of whom joins Cables on this recording.
Looking for the Light is the result of some introspection on the part of Cables, who has not been in good health recently. Mr. Cables composed eight of the disc’s ten songs. All of his compositions are swinging but have a thoughtful air about them. That is not to say that the pianist does not heat things up. While the title track and "Klimo" are oriental and introspective, "Alice Brown" is a funky post-bop blues where Gary Barth tears things up.
The two "standards" are Carole King’s "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and Erik Satie’s "Gymnopedie." The former is taken at a ballad pace with sparse accompaniment. Cables adds a churchy gospel element to the song that sound quite at home. His solo is tastefully complete and technical. Effectively, Cables has turned this pop song into a true standard. Satie’s quasi-classical piece fairs the same, given an abstract reading by Bartz and Cables. It comes off as an impressionistic/expressionistic tone poem, a wispy muse. George Cables is as solid a pianist as one can hope to hear. Let us hope for his complete return to health and much, much more music like this.
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.