George Cables is the embodiment of elegance and sophistication.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Piano trios dot the landscape like taxi cabs and Starbucks when visiting New York. Good pianists are a dime a dozen, great pianists include a fixture on the Big Apple scene and that pianist is George Cables. As a leader George goes back to his 1975 debut with Why Not while most people are perhaps more familiar with his work with such artists as Woody Shaw and Dexter Gordon along with drum legend Victor Lewis. Given that Cables has usually allowed bassists free reign on the bandstand the end result takes the standard piano to a new level of harmonic conversation.
Some tunes here speak for themselves and include "Cedar Walton" and "Farewell Mulgrew." There are other somewhat surprising and slightly eclectic tunes such as "Nature Boy" and a more deconstructed Dexter Gordon riff on "The Very Thought of You." The adaptability and trust that runs throughout this trio would give some the impression of a group that may have been together a decade or more. A utility infielder travels his baseball path with a plethora of skills and the ability to plug himself into any situation, George Cables is no different. The rhythm section of Dezron Douglas and Victor Lewis add a textural lift to the ensemble and set this trio apart from their contemporaries.
A few "rarities" pop up in the form of the Bill Evans tune "Very Early" and a warm reharm of the Benny Golson tune "Blue Heart." This is a master class for pianists working the trio format, not everything has to be from the Cole Porter catalog, it has to be from your heart and from your soul. George Cables gives us a keen insight into his lyrical soul and we are better for it.
Tracks: Cedar Walton; Farewell Mulgrew Miller; Happiness; The Duke; Come Sunday; Little B's Poem; Nature Boy; Very Early; Isotope; The Very Thought Of You; Mo' Pan; Blue Heart.
Personnel: George Cables: Piano; Dezron Douglas: Bass; Victor Lewis: Drums.