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Blues And Jazz Piano
Review Date: Oct, 2009
by Gary Tate
Modern blues tends to be dominated by the electric guitar, so when a nifty release comes along, featuring the most commonly featured instrument from the early parts of the last century, well it’s ample cause to celebrate. The 88’s was the ticket to ride for most cats back then, and in the hands of such modern masters like Matt McCabe, its validity continues as an essential cog for any well-oiled Blues combo. Matt is currently touring with Duke Robillard (along with featured drummer Mark Teixeira), but McCabe has also spent considerable time with Anson Funderburgh and Roomful of Blues. Blues and Jazz Piano was recorded live at Duke’s Mood Room in Rhode Island, a venue named after owner Duke Robillard who lends his guitar throughout, as well as two vocal selections: Goin’ Down Slow and Midnight Hour Blues. Actually, after the first six Blues-based tracks (the halfway point), things shift toward a decidedly straight-up Jazz direction, as McCabe displays his considerable chops on a potent mixture of Swing, Bebop, Latin, and Postbop. The above bases are immaculately executed on: Une Noches Con Francis (Bud Powell), I Remember You (Johnny Mercer), Barbados (Charlie Parker), and Azure Te (Bud Powell). And there’s lots of other highly rhythmic delights too, including McCabe’s own Martina’s Time and especially Nablatnias, which features brother Al McCabe, a winningly persuasive musician who blows honey tenor sax. Carl Queforth from Roomful Of Blues is featured on trombone. It practically goes without saying that the sense of interplay is both impeccable and flowing throughout. There are a couple of fine boogies too, including Cow Cow Boogie, plus Matt’s own Dog Finger Boogie which is a pure solo excursion. I’m not a piano maven, so McCabe helpfully lists out some of the legendary types whose influence can be heard in his eclectic and well-rounded playing: Meade Lux Lewis, Little Brother Montgomery, Otis Spann, Big Maceo Merriwether, Roosevelt Sykes, Bud Powell, Phineas Newborn (B.B. King’s original piano player), Cedar Walton, and Hampton Hawes. Matt McCabe must have absorbed a wonderful grab bag of ideas from these titans, because I had a difficult time differentiating between teacher and student on Blues And Jazz Piano.
Artist: Matt McCabe-Blues and Jazz Piano
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