Jazz Society of Oregon

Quiz, Alexander McCabe
By George Fendel

McCabe is an alto saxophonist who likes a good melody and a bit more. His first solo disc in five years finds a decent blend of traditional melody-solo-melody but with a twist of changing time signatures and altered chords. His "Weezie's Waltz" seems innocuous, a major-keyed waltz, but with a 5/4 alteration that gives it some quirkiness. His alto sound is bold but smooth, again finding a balance between the modern sounds of Dolphy and the traditions of Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. McCabe enlists the help of pianist Uri Caine, bassist Ugonna Okegwo, and drummers Greg Hutchinson and Rudy Royston to bring his vision to life. They are able to keep that sense of control just when things seem like they might teeter towards the avant-garde. It's an inspiring balance and one that makes it both modern and retro without being too far in either direction.


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