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All Music Guide
Review by Paula Edelstein
1/01/2006

You may be familiar with the music of Alexander McCabe because he has played in the bands of two of the most outstanding bandleaders in music history - Ray Charles and Chico O'Farrill. On this, his first national CD release, the alto saxophonist/composer brings his own personality and perspective to an immensely pleasing program of original compositions that exhibit his considerable artistic gifts. The Round features music that is inventive and interesting and at the same time accessible to non-jazz fans. "Floating" is a gem that boasts outstanding solo work by McCabe while at the same time features the brilliant accompaniment of Joe Barbato, Steve Johns, and Ugonna Okegwo sustaining the mood of a suspended kind of feeling. "Taylor Made" offers a full palette of artistic colors and is both beautiful and provocative. Several sections allow each member to display his impressive chops, but a particular vamp sequenced in the middle is an effective vehicle for drummer and pianist. On sax, McCabe provides some serious high notes and his variations are diverse enough to range from eloquent to formula bop. The title track goes beyond post-bop conventionality with the addition of accordion. Inspired by traditional Irish music or seisuns - this is essentially an Irish jam session. Each song is very well developed and moves the musical imagery to the point of visual improvisation. Give a listen to "Village Walk," and you'll hear the sights and sounds of a walk through Greenwich Village! "Yours" is a straight-ahead blues that the band plays with a swinging abandon, maintaining depth and thoughtfulness in its performance. Now that McCabe has found his sound, hope that it never gets lost.

 

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