Monday Recommendation: George Cables

Cables I&IGeorge Cables, Icons and Influences (High Note)

After nearly 50 years during which he himself has become a piano icon and influence, Cables offers a dozen pieces that have affected his approach. They are by, about, or reflect the inspiration of an eclectic assortment of musicians including Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, Nat Cole, Dexter Gordon and Tony Bennett. He begins with new compositions in memory of the recently departed pianists Cedar Walton and Mulgrew Miller, then plays “Happiness,” a 1965 piece from the beginning of his own recording career. However effective and touching the tributes, Cables’ depth and originality emerge as the main impression of this beautifully wrought trio album. Bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Victor Lewis are Cables’ strong supporters. One of many high points: a wry harmonic twist to end “The Duke” that would have brought a smile to Brubeck, the wry harmonic twister who wrote it.

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  1. al kaye says

    George performed with this trio at the NY Historical Society a few weeks ago. The concert was wonderful. You could see and hear the musicians thinking and reacting to each other, leaving space for the listener to enter and enjoy. It also brought back memories of George Cables with Dexter Gordon when he returned from Europe at the Village Vanguard and Victor Lewis with John Hicks at Sweet Basil.

  2. Wayne Tucker says

    I first heard Cables with one of my five favorite sax masters, Art Pepper, in the late 1970s. Pepper is supposed to have said that George Cables was his favorite pianist, and after listening to their playing on the many Galaxy label cds they recorded, it’s easy to see why. And Cables seems to get better and better with age. His early recordings were quite varied and expansive, but his touch is better now than when he started. He reminds me a bit of the great Tommy Flanagan and also a little of one of today’s other piano masters, Kenny Barron. Pick up some of his music–you really can’t go wrong with George Cables.