May 22, 2024

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CD review: George Cables – I’m All Smiles 2019: Video, CD cover

Trio album from George Cables, who has been the pianist of choice for saxophonists Dexter Gordon and Art Pepper; Pepper called him his favourite pianist. Cables also recorded a lot with jazz stars Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson and Frank Morgan.

On ‘I’m All Smiles’, he is so fluent in the ways of the keyboard, song structure and harmony, so aware of his available options at every second, the compositions themselves seem as if they are being made up on the spot.

But not all of the trio’s decisions are made in the moment. As a structural feature, he loves yoking together his left hand and Essiet Essiet’s bass, to give the music an extra-fortified low end. They play in tight unison so often, those doubled bass lines have become the trio’s signature. Fused piano and bass have such a distinct colour, when they merge it’s almost like another instrument making an appearance. The trio polishes its music to a high gloss, which is so unassumingly good, you could miss just how good it is. It gives good taste a good name.

1 Young at Heart 06:27
2 I’m All Smiles (From “The Yearling”) 06:14
3 Speak No Evil 05:46
4 Bésame Mucho 07:49
5 Ugly Beauty 05:59
6 Love Is a Many Splendored Thing 07:18
7 Celebration 05:41
8 Three Views of a Secret 04:16
9 Thermo 05:08
10 Monk’s Mood 03:40

George Cables (piano)
Essiet Essiet (bass)
Victor Lewis (drums)

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