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Alexander McCabe: The Round

Alexander McCabe brings an almost tenorlike post-Coltrane conception to his relatively light-toned alto, and that in itself makes for interesting listening. And since he is all over his instrument and knows chord progressions inside out, this recital of his five compositions, pianist Joe Barbato’s two and drummer Steve Johns’ one, presents him in a favorable light. Their tunes indicate an interest in more than the mundane.

The title track emulates the Irish “seisun” in its simultaneous improvisation by McCabe and Barbato, who switches to accordion for the occasion (as he also does on two other tunes). And the slow, wandering “Village Walk” provides the musicians with only three predetermined but randomly selected chords for improvisations, which necessarily results in both consonant and dissonant moments. The varied program also includes the Latin swinger “Jugo” as well as Johns’ lovely, medium-tempo bossa nova “A Cry in the Rain Forest.” Overall, the rhythm section, with Ugonna Okegwo on bass, keeps the time firmly anchored, but group coordination does sound a bit shaky on the head of McCabe’s uptempo blues “Yours.”

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