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George Cables: Looking for the Light

If anyone in the mainstream and bop communities has paid his dues, it is George Cables. As a sideman, he’s been a valued team player for Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Art Pepper, Joe Henderson and Freddie Hubbard, and as a leader he has always attracted the best like-minded swingers, such as the colleagues heard on his latest acoustic outing, Looking for the Light (Muse FX): bassist Peter Washington, drummer Victor Lewis and Gary Bartz on soprano and alto saxes.

More dues paid: Cables recently overcame a bout with kidney failure, and this session attests to his strong comeback. He’s flirting with 60 now, and dialysis may have taken the edge off some of his speed, but his technique is still Cables-ready and his writing is, if anything, more profound, more eloquent than ever. He’s not “looking for the light”-he found it. Eight of the 10 tunes are originals. Among the highlights: the title tune, a gorgeous waltz; “Senorita de Aranjuez,” in which he manages to steal the action with his serpentine comping; and his solo track “Helen’s Mother’s Song”-pure poetry.

Originally Published