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July/August 2006

George Cables Trio
A Letter to Dexter
Kind of Blue

A Letter to Dexter is yet another finely crafted recording by the talented—and too often overlooked—pianist George Cables. Over the course of nearly four decades, Cables has worked with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Art Pepper and Dexter Gordon in addition to releasing a string of excellent recordings as a leader.

As the title of this recording implies, Cables has put together a tribute to Gordon, whom he played with from 1976 to ’78, when the legendary sax player made his triumphant return to America from France. Joined by bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Victor Lewis (both Gordon band alums), Cables performs a tasty collection of tunes written by Gordon as well as songs that are identified with him.

Cables, Reid and Lewis are in total synch throughout, and the love all three feel for Gordon and his music shines through on every cut. “Catalonian Nights,” Gordon’s tribute to Barcelona, kicks things off with an irresistible groove and swings solidly to the closer, a heartfelt take on “’Round About Midnight.” Every detail and nuance seems perfectly placed, down to Cables’ speaking the opening lyrics of “Polkadots and Moonbeams”—following Gordon’s tradition of reciting lyrics to the audience.

Originally published in July/August 2006
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