George Cables – Morning Song – High Note

by | May 5, 2008 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

George Cables – Morning Song – High Note  HCD 7182,  55:20 (1980)  ****:

(George Cables, piano; Eddie Henderson, trumpet; John Heard, bass; Sherman Ferguson, drums; sidemen are featured on tracks 1,5, 6, & 9 only; balance are solo tracks by Cables only)

George Cables has long been thought of as a consummate sideman, an ideal piano accompanist. He was the favorite piano player of Art Pepper, and possibly the premiere West Coast piano player of the 1970s and 1980s. As the “house” pianist for the storied Keystone Korner in San Francisco in the 1970s, Cables work with Dexter Gordon was recently released as a Mosaic Select set and its release was welcomed by jazz collectors in remastered sound.

Cables’ re-release on High Note of Morning Song from 1980 gives George free rein on six solo compositions as well as four tracks backing prime period Eddie Henderson with the rhythm section of John Heard, and Sherman Ferguson. Song selection is first rate with standards, On Green Dolphin Street, I Remember Clifford, and Polka Dots and Moonbeams as well as more recent mainstays, Up Jumped Spring by Freddie Hubbard and Bobby Hutcherson’s Little B’s Poem and Stroll. The group tracks strongly feature Eddie Henderson on trumpet with Cables in his more familiar accompanist role. Henderson’s staccato delivery shows his debt during this period of his recording career to Miles Davis.

On the six Cables’ solos, you’ll find George’s trademark crystalline runs. By turns lightning fast and then reflective and ruminative, Cables shows why he was in such demand. Never showy and always with exquisite taste, listening to George play is such a pleasure. Whether its Anthony Newley’s  hit, Who Can I Turn To, or Benny Golson’s  I Remember Clifford, Cables keeps you both guessing and marveling at his control of the entire keyboard. George Cables has been recovering from serious health problems over the last few years and has just recently returned to touring. Morning Song shows him in his prime.

– Jeff Krow

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