Review of "This is Not a Pipe"
By Dan McClenaghan
October 8, 2014
Are we having fun yet? Saxophonist Alexander McCabe and pianist Paul Odeh are, on a rollicking duo outing, This Is Not A Pipe. The frequent collaborators delve into a loose-jointed, roll and tumble examination of some jazz standards and McCabe originals.
The word "seamless" is an often used--some would say over-used--as a description of a recorded offering. This Is Not A Pipe is not that. It is about as Un-seamless as can be. It sounds as if two good friends who can say anything to each other have gotten themselves involved in a relaxed and kicked-back free-for-all conversation, seams showing all over the place, even unraveling in spots.
And, as the saying goes, it's all good. In fact, it's all excellent. Opening with "Miss Maritza," McCabe's tip of the hat to his wife, the saxophonist and pianist Odeah are soufully spontaneous, with McCabe's tart tone bringing alto saxophonist Jackie McLean to mind, and Odeh shaping a joyful solo. "It Could Happen To You," the Great American Songbook gem, has an insouciant bounce in its step gem, with McCabe blowing, nearly, into free territory. "Penny's Way," is dark-hued and contemplative, free yet engaging, fractiousness alternating with beauty, wrapping up on a quizzical note. "Emily," the famous Bill Evans vehicle, sways prettily in ¾, with McCabe adding some sharp angles to the melody.
The title tune, another McCabe original, explores, again, a dark territory. McCabe, in the beginning, sounds like some just-awakened-from-hibernation-beast emerging from its cave at dusk, with Odeh's playing acting, in its contemplative loveliness, as a counterpoint.
A especially fine recording with the bonus of great sound quality. You're right there with them.
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