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Jazz Chronicles
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Wow Factor
By James Hale

It's getting to be that time of year again, and I've been weighing the options for the annual top 10 CD list. Some of the usual suspects—Vijay Iyer, Mary Halvorson, Jason Moran—are back in serious contention again this year.

I'm not sure it will have the staying power to crack the top 10, but one recording that has impressed me lately is Alexander McCabe's Quiz, which I recently spent a lot of time with for an upcoming DownBeat review. What I do know at this point is that if I was nominating a single track of the year McCabe's version of "Good Morning Heartache" would be at the top of the list. Wow! A stunning performance, very much in the vein of mid-period Coltrane without being slavish to Trane's sound (for one thing, McCabe plays alto, not tenor).

McCabe might not be a name you know. He's a Boston native who's in his late 40s, but he's only done a couple of previous recordings under his own name. Quiz is definitely worth a listen, and "Good Morning Heartache" will knock you out if you're a fan of Crescent, "My Favorite Things" or "Afro-Blue."

 

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