Recent listening, current

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

90. Frank Morgan and George Cables / Double image (1986)

Another nice disc in Frank Morgan's comeback, and definitely something for the shelf. These two musicians are quite a pair. If a trio is less complicated and gives the leader greater clarity and flexibility than a quartet, then a duo takes that rationale to the next level. This album is aptly titled and features Morgan and Cables almost as sympathetic col-leaders. I'd love to hear Morgan's memories of the session. His alto is characteristically expressive. Together with Cables at the piano, they work through an interesting set list. I say it's interesting because there's only two chestnuts: "All the Things You Are" and "After You've Gone," which are quite good. The rest of the record is mixed of more recent stuff and a few originals. On the first side they do a really nice interpretation of Wayne Shorter's "Virgo" (sound the bias alarm, that's one of my favorite tunes) and "Blues for Rosalinda," which is a blues written by Morgan. Bop-inflected blues are his forte, complete with lightning-fast flurries of Birdlike chromaticity. In this regard, I am struck by how similar Morgan and Cables can be. Their choruses are saturated with the mood and use dynamics wisely, before flying up the registers in deftly fingered runs of dazzling acuity. The record closes with a meditative version of Miles' "Blue in Green," but not before Cables has a serious workout in his tune, "I Told You So," which you have to hear to appreciate. Seriously! It might be out of print, but if you can find a copy, buy it now.

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