JAZZ BLUES MAGAZINE
by Ron Weinstock
Saxophonist, pianist, and composer McCabe has been a featured soloist with the Ray Charles Orchestra, and toured and played with the Chico O’Farrill Afro- Cuban Big Band. “Body and Soul” is his sixth album as a leader and has him on alto and soprano saxophone, leading a quartet consisting of Paul Odeh on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on bass, and Craig Wuepper on drums. For this album, McCabe wrote four originals and two interpretations of standards.
The album kicks off with an original, Elena” a waltz named for his niece. McCabe is on soprano sax, and the feel of this performance is evocative of the John Coltrane Quartet with pianist Odeh laying down some Tyner-esque chords. Playing alto sax, McCabe shows off his ballad interpretative skills on his medium-tempo original, “If I See Her,” with some fine ensemble playing. Okegwo contributes a propulsive bass line here.
Also worthy of note is an uptempo blues, “Christi’s Day,” and an evocative ballad, “Angela,” named after his wife. This listener would have preferred if McCabe exhibited a more restrained attack than he exhibits on “Body and Soul.” It is not a poor performance, though, and pianist Odeh and bassist Okegwo shine in their solos. The album closes with a rendition of John Coltrane’s “Countdown,” as McCabe ably navigates the pace and changes of the tune with drummer Wuepper featured towards the close. This track concludes a well-played and programmed, straight-ahead recording.