George Cables: The Pianist’s Dedication to the Group

georgeCablesAnyone who is serious about jazz will tell you that George Cables belongs in the pantheon of the greatest jazz pianists. Everyone, that is, except George Cables. Exceptional in every way, he is yet a team player. He sees himself as part of the rhythm section, and has always emphasized the group over the soloist. He has worked extensively since the late 1960s with many of the legends, including Art Blakey, Art Pepper, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, and Dexter Gordon, to name a few.

In this October 2013 interview with All About Jazz, Cables discusses many of the greats he played with, including here where he talks about playing with Dexter Gordon:

“It was just fun, because he wanted to be leader and also just wanted to play. He was very creative and arranged our choruses. We had a quartet that really developed, withRufus Reid on bass and Eddie Gladden on drums. Dexter had a few specific things he wanted, and he would tell you that, but he would also just roll with the band. We became an incredible group because we were really tight. Dexter finally felt he had his own group that had his own voice. The rhythm section really worked well together. 

“I remember that one day he gave me a piano solo on a ballad, and the band suddenly stopped playing! I had no accompaniment, and I just started playing my solo piano, and I wasn’t used to doing that, but I kept finding things to play and really stretchin’ it out and being fairly free, and playing rubato, and out of tempo. And Dexter encouraged me for taking that risk, and I’m grateful for that because he helped me find out what I can do playing solo.”

Click here to read George Cables: The Pianist’s Dedication to the Group

—Peter Blasevick