I barely made it through another year of holiday jazz releases, and I have to admit I skated a little because I only talked about one release from Jeff Hamilton as if that’s the only thing happening in music for the upcoming month. That’s what made me think of Thanksgiving jazz albums. Saxophonist Alexander McCabe may have come up with an ideal jazz album for Turkey Day, which just happens to be today, and it’s called Body & Soul after the classic Johnny Green tune.
This is Thanksgiving jazz for a very simple reason–it’s upbeat without being watered down, and it features great performances from Alexander McCabe and the rest of his quartet–Paul Odeh on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Craig Wuepepper on drums. That means it will appeal to much of the family who will be encroaching on your personal space today and driving you more than a little crazy. Anyone ready for some pie? How about ten minutes from now?
If you don’t already know Alexander McCabe, he’s one of those jazz musicians who have been around a long time, and has played with almost everyone important. One striking fact from his press release–he actually recorded some of the incidental music for Breaking Bad once upon a time. You want variety? McCabe has played with both Moby and the late Danny Aiello and lots of people in between.
What makes Alexander McCabe and his new album so universal in its appeal is the strengths of the performances here. This is pure exciting jazz that flows and swings in all the right ways, and unless you have one of those pesky and annoying allergies to jazz you’ll find this the perfect music for gatherings, in between football games perhaps, after dinner when everyone has switched to sweatpants. It’s relaxed, friendly and potentially rife with pleasant memories. It’s Thanksgiving jazz.