Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved reader experience across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

257

George Cables: Morning Song

By

Sign in to view read count
George Cables doesn't get talked about too much anymore. Although he was prominent enough in the 70s to play with Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, and Freddie Hubbard, he has since disappeared somewhat from the mainstream scene. Consequently, HighNote's release of Morning Song, a collection of Cables' 1980 performances from San Francisco's The Keystone Korner, is an important artifact. Although the commercial sound of late 70s jazz can feel dated and contrived, it is a valuable reminder of the way things were.

At the time of recording, Cables' career was on the rise. The preceding year had seen the release of Cables' Vision (Contemporary, 1979), a major record with a strong lineup that included Freddie Hubbard and Bobby Hutcherson. In 1980, Cables was at the height of his popularity.

Morning Song showcases the pianist's gifts, but the track order is often ungainly. Even though the three consecutive solo tracks form a medley of sorts, the producer has made for an odd inertia: the album opens with an accessible Miles Davis-influenced quartet version of "On Green Dolphin Street," then drops back to Cables alone until tracks 5 and 6, and then back to solo for the almost the entire second half.

Generally, the solo numbers on this record have much more creative potential than the quartet efforts. Eddie Henderson's trumpet playing doesn't hold up to Cables' standard, most particularly on Freddie Hubbard's tune, "Up Jumped Spring." Playing over a Hubbard vehicle, Henderson is not without creativity, but in comparison to his forebear the solo hardly seems worthwhile, while the pop influence in his playing dulls his impact.

Playing solo, Cables too occasionally lapses into a predictable, pop-oriented sound. But at other moments his technique and style, while not groundbreaking, deserve real consideration. Rubato solo renditions of ballads often feel like they have been subtly infused with elements of funk or Latin rhythms—as though he is grooving with a full band inside his head.

Cables never goes too far out in his playing, but his technique does allow for an occasional surprise. After straight-up versions of old standards like "Who Can I Turn To?" and "As Time Goes By," Cables sensitively plays a patchwork "Polka Dots and Moonbeams." In just the sixty seconds, he implies McCoy Tyner's minor pentatonic lines, then moves into an almost Keith Jarrett-like sound. By the time he reaches the melody, he has leaned on a few lush Bill Evans chords; then he blusters into a series of fast runs that sound like Oscar Peterson and Cecil Taylor together. The song never goes "out," per se, and the trajectory is always apparent; but the strange, burning moments like these blurry runs are some of the truest on the recording.

Track Listing: On Green Dolphin Street; Who Can I Turn To?; Stroll; I Remember Clifford; Morning Song; Up Jumped Spring; Little B's Poem; As Time Goes By; Quiet Fire; Polka Dots and Moonbeams.

Personnel: George Cables: piano; Eddie Henderson: trumpet; John Heard: bass; Sherman Ferguson: drums.

Title: Morning Song | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: HighNote Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Contra la indecision CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Vessel in Orbit CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Pulse/Quartet CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "2" CD/LP/Track Review 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "Akua's Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "On The Radio: BBC Sessions 1971" CD/LP/Track Review On The Radio: BBC Sessions 1971
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "You / Me" CD/LP/Track Review You / Me
by John Eyles
Published: January 9, 2018
Read "The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture" CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "The Spirit Of Piteşti" CD/LP/Track Review The Spirit Of Piteşti
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 17, 2017