George 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.