Exclusive Magazine reviews Alexander McCabe, Body and Soul

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Alexander McCabe Ensemble


by Russell Trunk

Title – Body & Soul
Artist – Alexander McCabe
Body and Soul (out now) is Alexander McCabe’s 6th album as a leader, it feature’s frequent collaborators Paul Odeh on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on Bass and Craig Wuepper on drums.

Each musician has their own impressive resumes in the jazz world, notably, Ugonna has been Tom Harrel’s bass player since 1997. Paul has worked with George Coleman and others and Craig has worked with Cedar Walton and others as well.

The album has four McCabe originals: Elena, a lilting waltz that McCabe plays the soprano sax on (named for his niece), If I See Her, a medium tempo ballad, Angela, also a ballad (named for Craig’s wife) and Christi’s Day an up-tempo Blues (named for an old friend) and also includes classic standards Body and Soul (Johnny Green) and John Coltrane’s Countdown.

1.Elena (6:45)
2.If I See Here (10:55)
3.Christi’s Day (5:17)
4.Body and Soul (7:33) (Johnny Green)
5.Angela (7:18)
6.Countdown (3:42) (John Coltrane)

Opening on the precociously flirty Elena and the aching yearn of If I See Here, those are seamlessly followed by the gently frenetic Christi’s Day, the free flowing orchestrated majesties of Green’s Body and Soul, the album rounding out on the dulcet mastering of Angela, closing on McCabe’s frantically cultured rendition of Coltrane’s Countdown.

Alexander McCabe is a saxophonist, pianist, and composer. Alexander was a featured soloist with the Ray Charles Orchestra. In addition, he also toured and played with the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Big Band.

Alexander’s music can be heard in many films and television shows, including A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood, The Affair (SHO), the Chris Rock film Top Five, Breaking Bad (AMC), Nurse Jackie (Showtime), Skins (MTV), Damages (Fox) and many more. As a band member and songwriter for the popular ska band Mephiskapheles, he performed and toured the US and Europe. Mephiskapheles songs were featured prominently in MTV’s The Real Life. Alexander recorded with the techno artist Moby on the soundtrack to the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.

He’s a member of the George Coleman Octet, and has played and toured with many well-known jazz artists, including Harold Mabern, Clifford Jordan, Jimmy Cobb, and the actor Danny Aiello. He’s toured the UK and Europe and played at the Edinburgh, Vienne, North Sea, Pori, and Cork Jazz festivals. He has recorded extensively with a variety of artists.

McCabe says: “This is the best, and most satisfying album I’ve done as a leader. It was fun working with these guys, because not only are they great musicians, but also very close friends. We had several rehearsals, and they were all very involved with the musical/artistic process, they all contributed ideas that help make the music dynamic!”

Alexander McCabe: soprano, alto saxophones
Paul Odeh: piano
Ugonna Okegwo: bass
Craig Wuepper: drums

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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