March 2006
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.


Back to Press page