Alexander McCabe "The Round"
By Frank Rubolino
Agreeable refrains rise form the a lot saxophone of McCabe on his quartet recording
featuring eight original tunes by him or other band members. The session flows
melodically while McCabe emits soft-edged solo passages built around the structure
of these pleasing tunes. Hi phraseology drips with warmth and romanticism, and
he conveys gentleness even though there is plenty of muscle in his expressive
playing. The music emanates from the post bop genre where a lyrical straight forward
attack of the tunes with theme/solo/theme sequences is the process. On "Yours"
McCabe stretches out with rounds of circling improvisations, which is a course
he favors often.
The pieces open up solo opportunities for pianist Barbato, and
to a limited extent bassist Okegwo and drummer Johns. Barbato is a punctuating
pianist who systematically underscores McCabe's freelancing with his comping technique
as a prelude to his own improvisational components. On the title cut, Barbato
switches to accordion to change the ambiance of the set somewhat. He and the leader
state the melody line in unison before McCabe springs free for a personal interpretation.
Barbato does like wise with a short accordion solo that always keeps the theme
in the forefront. On John's Latin-based "A cry from the rain forest"
and Barbato's closing "Salvo" both piano and accordion are heard, giving
diverse character to these cuts. McCabe and his quartet do not overpower with
innovation, but their program is solidly built and extremely well executed.
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