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Icons and Influences

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Editors’ Notes

Veteran pianist George Cables has been an in-demand sideman for decades; he’s recorded with Art Pepper, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, and many others. Cables is a strong accompanist, and his solos have the clarity of a finely honed short story. He’s also recorded many albums as a leader, and on 2014’s Icons and Influences, he’s in top form. As its title indicates, the album pays tribute to some of his musical comrades and inspirations. The opening cut, “Cedar Walton,” is a buoyant tune that embodies swing in sweet ways. It often returns to a springing bass line that Cables and bassist Dezron Douglas play in unison. The pianist tips his hat to the great Bill Evans by covering his waltz “Very Early”; Cables is continually inventive as he works through the changes. (And check out Douglas’ thick-toned solo.) Drummer Victor Lewis drives the trio hard on a version of Henderson’s “Isotope.” Later in the piece, Lewis engages in exciting call-and-response with his bandmates. The closer, a Benny Golson ballad called “Blue Heart,” is rendered with great feeling by a solo Cables.

Customer Reviews

Icons and Influences

I’m continually impressed every time I hear this album, it will take more listenings. One might expect such a veteran as George Cables to render the material on this album straight ahead but he doesn't really do that, even in a classic piano trio. “Isotope" and "Little B’s Poem" for example, are not stock arrangements. This is the album of a master jazz pianist in an interesting session, contemporary in every way with an involved rhythm section. I think we are over looking this album here at iTunes: this is 5 stars not 4 stars.


Born: November 14, 1944 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Equally skilled as a leader or as a sideman, George Cables helped to define modern mainstream jazz piano of the 1980s and '90s. When he was 18 and at Mannes College, he formed the Jazz Samaritans with Steve Grossman and Billy Cobham. Cables gained recognition during his stints with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Sonny Rollins (both in 1969), Joe Henderson (1969-1971), and Freddie Hubbard (1971-1976). He was with Dexter Gordon (1976-1978) during the tenor's successful return to the United States, and...
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