Review of "The Round"
By Dan McClenaghan
The Round comes to life on a swaying melody, with the leader's
engaging composition "Floating." Alto saxophonist Alexander McCabe's
blows in with an Art Pepper-like intensity inside the tune's drifitng ambiance,
an atmosphere that he and the band achieve with a seeming ease.
McCabe studied with George Coleman, an undersung Miles Davis
sideman during the very early sixties-an undersung period in Davis's ever-evolving
sound. Altoist McCabe seems to have absorbed some of Coleman's subtle, sneak-up-on-you
eloquence, and the master's storytelling gift that keeps you riveted and coming
back for multiple listens.
McCabe penned five of the eight tunes on this strong straightahead
set; pianist/accordionist Joe Barbato wrote two more, and drummer Steve Johns
composed another. Of special note is Joe Barbato's accordion work. Sax and accordion
are tangy and sweet, two instruments that seem to +be made to acccompany each
other. The title tune brings a traditional Irish feeling to the set, a high-energy,
propulsive pub crawler, evoking images of low ceilings and gleaming taps, froth-topped
pints of Guinness on the bar, and musicians huddled in a corner, wailing. Also,
Barbato adds some squeezebox ambiance to Steve Johns' "A Cry From a Rain
Forest" and the closing "Salvo."
The Round announces a first-rate jazz talent in alto saxophonist/composer
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