George Cables is one of the world’s greatest jazz pianists, one who helped define the sound of the instrument as we know it today. He’s been making unostentatious music at the keyboard for decades. His new release, “In Good Company,” though focusing on people Cables has known in the past, is not a tribute album but rather a series of personal reminiscences from the keyboard. On display on every track are those wonderful turns of phrases, interesting voicings and that gorgeous tone which characterizes Cables’ playing. With musical compadres Essiet Essiet and Victor Lewis, Cables explores the music of Ellington, Strayhorn, John Hicks, and offers a couple of his own intensely interesting compositions.
Saxophonist extraordinaire Walt Weiskopf shifts into another gear and takes us along for the ride on the “Open Road.” As a tour de force collection of hard hitting originals, Weiskopf’s second release for Posi-Tone Records features the swinging rhythm section of pianist Peter Zak, bassist Mike Karn and drummer Steve Fidyk. All of the musicians do some heavy lifting behind the sensational melodicism and harmonic inventions of their fearless leader.
Also this week, it’s the final release for the late guitarist Jeff Golub, “The Vault,” featuring saxophonist Kirk Whalum; veteran trumpet stand-outs Randy Brecker and Bobby Shew are featured with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and St. Blaise’s Big Band, under the direction of Vince Mendoza, on “Trumpet Summit Prague: the Mendoza Arrangements Live”; and Eastern Iowa’s own Laranja, featuring guitarist Dan Padley, reedman Ryan Smith, keyboardist Michael Jarvey, bassist Drew Morton and drummer Justin Leduc, unveil “Thrills and Echoes.”