Maestro George Cables returns to the trio format on Too Close for Comfort, the twenty-first recording as leader of own groups. That means listeners are able to hear even more of his deft and delightful piano, always a welcome bonus. Cables is admirably supported throughout by bassist Essiet Essiet and drummer Victor Lewis.
Cables leads with the title song, which is played slightly off-kilter, modestly blurring its resemblance to Sammy Davis Jr.'s mega-hit from the Broadway musical Mr. Wonderful. Essiet solos nimbly, as he does on half a dozen of the album's ten tunes. The next three ("Circle of Love," "This Is My Song," "Klimo") were written by Cables, as was the brief and warm-hearted finale, "A Valentine for You"; they are as laudable as anything the session has to offer. "My Song" assumes a Caribbean demeanor with superb brush work by Lewis. "Circle of Love" is a charming groover, "Klimo" a robust yet melodious flag-waver. It makes no difference to Cables; he is completely at home traversing any terrain or tempo including tender ballads such as "For All We Know." Frank Loesser's "I've Never Been in Love Before" and Tadataka Unno's "Crazy Love"; a pair of spellbinders by vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, "Roses Poses" and "Teddy," complete the sharp, well-planned program.
"I've Never Been in Love Before," from the musical Guys and Dolls, can traverse many pathsfrom ballad to blazerand Cables chooses the latter while never losing sight of its elegance, as Essiet and Lewis affirm that rapid tempos are their meat and potatoes. Cables was two months shy of his seventy- sixth birthday when Too Close for Comfort was recorded in September 2020 but you'd never know it, as he has ceded nary an inch of ground to Father Time and plays with the vigor and dexterity of a much younger musician. His sharpness and enthusiasm help make this a sparkling trio session from start to finish.
Too Close for Comfort; Circle of Love; This Is My Song; Klimo; For All We Know; Crazy Love;
Roses Poses; I’ve Never Been in Love Before; Teddy; A Valentine for You.