If the saxophone is the centre of your musical universe – indeed of your very existence – then alto saxophonist Alexander McCabe’s winter disc I’d Prefer will thrill you beyond your wildest imagination, albeit that spring is in the air [and, in fact, this recording was meant for to be for Christmas ‘20]. Even if the saxophone isn’t entirely your bag, get ready for eight tracks of excitement that whether Mr McCabe and [special guest] George Coleman – yes that great tenor saxophonist George Coleman – whisper, bang or shout, this album by Mr McCabe will always be more subtle and varied than you might expect saxophone music to be.
This repertoire is emotionally and eloquently aligned with the smooth flow of some highly entertaining music from a time when music was not simply about wizardry, but mainly about the beauty and elegance of musical art. Mr McCabe knows all that from his performances with the likes of Ray Charles. Of course, so does Mr Coleman who is a legend in his lifetime. It should also come as no surprise that the presence of the alto saxophonist’s sister, Anne McCabe, also contributes much to the memorability of this music. Miss McCabe also knows a thing or two about not just performance but captivating performance. The artistic and alluring personality that she exudes can also be felt all over this music.
Listening to “A Christmas Song” in the spring of 2021 may throw you a bit, but then the tender rendition and the emotional honesty of Miss McCabe’s vocals will surely take your breath away. Moreover there is so much more to cheer about here – from the svelte luxuriance of “Together Again” and the elegant waltztime of “Your Laugh” to the spirited swing of “Out Front Blues”. Everywhere, the members of this ensemble play with spontaneous energy as if their creative juices had been unleashed by Mr McCabe, his sister and George Coleman too.
Track list – 1: You Really Don’t Care; 2: A Christmas Song; 3: I’d Prefer; 4: Together Again; 5: Miss Maritza; 6: Your Laugh; 7: New York City; 8: Out Front Blues
Personnel – Alexander McCabe: alto saxophone; George Coleman: tenor saxophone [1, 2, 6, 8]; Anne McCabe: vocals; Paul Odeh: piano; Chris Haney: contrabasse; Jeff Brown: drums
Released – 2020
Label – WAMCO Music
Runtime – 43:24