George Cables

You Don't Know Me

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George Cables has quietly assembled an impressive discography as a leader over his long career. Two days of sessions in May 2007, a few months before medical problems caused him to undergo a multiple organ transplant, resulted in one of his very best releases. The first disc opens with a rambunctious take of "My Foolish Heart" that is a refreshing alternative to the typical overly sentimental arrangements. His upbeat, subtle treatment of Freddie Hubbard's "Up Jumped Spring" is beautifully understated, while his dramatic setting of "You Don't Know What Love Is" (erroneously credited to Billie Holiday) has Art Tatum-like flourishes. Most of the remaining tracks on disc one are Cables originals, highlighted by his delicate ballad "Lullaby" (a favorite of the late alto saxophonist Frank Morgan when he played with the pianist) and his inventive, bluesy "Helen's Song." Disc two opens with a trio of African-American spirituals, each played with the authority of a man who has lived the music. Cables' breezy take of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" takes this standard into less familiar territory, while his intricate reworking of the warhorse "Stella by Starlight" is just as dazzling. Bill Evans' "Waltz for Debby" has long been a favorite of jazz pianists, though Cables successfully puts his own stamp on it with a sparkling arrangement that still retains the original's playful attitude. Cables also includes a trio of originals on disc two, with the descriptive "Morning Song" especially standing out. Highly recommended.

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