In my review of George Cables’ album I’m All Smiles, I quoted and endorsed his remark that “he was “determined to play better despite the ravages of illness and old age”. Thankfully, he continues to delight and impress with this new offering, recorded two months before his 76th birthday.
The tongue-in-cheek title (and opening track) is his reference to “this past year’s social distancing mandate because of our encounter with Covid-19”. Typically, he used this enforced isolation as a “time for reflection and discovery”. The results are evident in a well-constructed programme.
It includes standards (Too Close For Comfort and I’ve Never Been In Love Before) and his own compositions (Circle Of Love, This Is My Song, Klimo, and A Valentine For You). There are also two Bobby Hutcherson pieces (Roses Poses and Teddy) – his tributes to the artist who “has recorded more of my music than any other single person”.
With the telepathic support throughout of bassist Essiet Essiet and drummer Victor Lewis, Cables displays his nimble keyboard virtuosity, musical wit and an ability to play and interpret his materials at all tempos. Prime examples are the title track (which takes off from the opening bars), a delicate and moving For All We Know, (played as a duet with Essiet), and I’ve Never Been In Love Before – which Cables confesses “is the only title that is not true, but I love the song”.
The gently lilting A Valentine For You is, he explains, “a short and personal solo piano piece written as a Valentine gift for the keeper of my heart, Margarita”. On all counts, this is a recording to cherish.
Too Close For Comfort; Circle Of Love; This Is My Song; Klimo; For All We Know; Crazy Love; Roses Poses; I’ve Never Been In Love Before; Teddy; A Valentine For You (56.21)
George Cables (p); Essiet Essiet (b); Victor Lewis (d). NYC, 9 September 2020.