from the January/February 2006 issue
Alexander McCabe brings an almost tenorlike post-Coltrane conception
to his relatively light-toned alto, and that in itself makes for interesting listening.
And since he is all over his instrument and knows chord progressions inside out,
this recital of his five
compositions, pianist Joe Barbato's two and drummer Steve Johns' one, presents
him in a favorable light. Their tunes indicate an interest in more than the mundane.
The title track emulates the Irish "seisun" in its
simultaneous improvisation by McCabe and Barbato, who switches to accordion for
the occasion (as he also does on two other tunes). And the slow, wandering "Village
Walk" provides the musicians with only three
predetermined but randomly selected chords for improvisations, which necessarily
results in both consonant and dissonant moments. The varied program also includes
the Latin swinger "Jugo" as well as Johns' lovely, medium-tempo bossa
nova "A Cry in the Rain Forest." Overall, the rhythm section, with Ugonna
Okegwo on bass, keeps the
time firmly anchored, but group coordination does sound a bit shaky on the head
of McCabe's uptempo blues "Yours."
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