by Tom Haugen
Alexander McCabe has an impressive resume that includes playing with the Ray Charles Orchestra and the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Big Band. Here, the saxophonist, pianist and composer returns with his 4th album as leader, where he handles alto-sax on primarily originals while taking some help from an esteemed cast.
“You Really Don’t Care” starts the listen with Anne McCabe’s smooth, expressive vocals guiding the playful and warm jazz opener as George Coleman’s tenor sax really illuminates the timeless spirit of the song, and “A Christmas Song” follows with soulful keys from Paul Odeh as the soft, intimate vocals suit the reflective climate.
At the halfway point, “Together Again”, the lone cover, is full of mature melody as the rhythm section of Chris Haney and Jeff Brown anchor the tune well, while “Miss Maritza”, the first of two instrumentals, brings Coleman back on sax in a shuffling and busy display of dance friendly jazz.
The last two tracks are among the best and includes the key acrobatics of the love letter to their city, “New York City”, and “Out Front Blues” exits the listen with an impromptu blues delivery that’s dizzying in its exciting, inimitable execution.
If you’ve seen shows like Breaking Bad, Nurse Jackie and Skins, you’ve already heard McCabe’s work, and here we get to explore his talent in a broader spectrum that makes for a captivating and easily enjoyable listen.