Jazz Review.com
Reviewed by: Richard Bourcier
February 2006

New York City based alto saxophonist, Alexander McCabe, offers his self-produced album The Round. The Boston-born musician was a featured soloist in the band of the legendary Ray Charles. McCabe also toured with Chico O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Band. Influenced by Bird, Trane and Cannonball, McCabe seems entirely comfortable within his small group.

All compositions featured on The Round are by members of the quartet. McCabe penned five songs including the Irish folk influenced title track. Pianist, Joe Barbota, switches to accordion and the quartet plays in near unison for a novel exhibition of "group improvisation." This reviewer preferred the more "straight ahead" approach on some of McCabe's other pieces including "Floating" and the blues based "Yours." "Village Walk" is a particular favorite and its leisurely stride offers the listener a chance to appreciate every note.

Pianist, Joe Barbato, penned two pieces including "Salvo" and "Taylor Made." The latter is in memory of the late Pittsburgh bassist, Dr. Mike Taylor. Barbato and McCabe first played together as teenagers in their native Beantown.

Drummer, Steve Johns, is a fixture on the New York scene and appears regularly with pianist, Dr. Billy Taylor. Johns penned "A Cry From The Rain Forest" with a tasty and sensitive alto solo. Bassist, Ugonna Okegwo, is heard to advantage on this very pretty composition.



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