Alexander McCabe

The Round


Alexander McCabe, alto saxophone; Joe Barbato, piano, accordion; Ugonna Okegwo, bass; Steve Johns, drums

Enjoyable from the first notes from the piano on the first track, which introduce us to alto saxophonist Alexander McCabe, a man whose solos progressively mature throughout any given number. Very relaxed, laid-back rhythm section--cool even when up-tempo.

The piano is a revelation. There is an obvious McCoy Tyner influence--although that is not meant as denigration. Tyner is a good guy to sound like. In fact, the first track could have easily been a Coltrane outing for McCabe and the rhythm section as a whole. One hears intelligence that does not bludgeon the senses in the solos--harmony of heart and mind, one might say, and then some.

The similar melodic structure of the first couple of tunes seems to be heralding a suite. But then comes something else further on. The swathes of sound by the drummer continued by the rest of the instruments, with Barbato switching to accordion, and the nevertheless skipping beat of the title track, is the stuff of musical fascination--something innovative that offers a sense of expansion.

On track five McCabe has a free-flowing line going and plenty of rapport with the other guys. The alto explores to the point where the piano takes over to continue the superbly hip, Cuban rhythm. Bassist Okegwo lays it down at a running pace on "Yours," and everyone gets to groove on the rhythm--and yours truly got his fat, silly "yeah" grin on his face.

Make your house happy...get some music in the air. Buy the CD.

By Lawrence Brazier