Keyboardist, pianist, composer, and singer Taber Gable, who has played and toured with Marcus Strickland, Nubya Garcia, Terrace Martin, Carolyn Leonhart, among many others, who has studied with Wynton Marsalis and Kenny Barron, and who is a much sought after musician on the New York scene, has finally released his debut album.
I usually try to avoid the word eclectic, but I can hear influences from the Doobie Brothers to Pat Metheny, from Steely Dan to Louie Vega on this highly entertaining album. And it also defies any genre categorization which is always a good thing, especially if you listen to most of the boring radio stations. Don’t let the rock guitar-influenced opener “Don’t Let Life Hold You Down” fool you. With the flowing vocals, you can already sense a genre-bending craft here which becomes clear with “Ache”, which features some great broken beats behind Taber’s wonderfully subdued vocals, reminding me of Larry Heard. The keyboard solo and drum work is simply hard to resist (Jonathan Pinson on drums).
There is Andrew Renfroe‘s guitar again at the beginning of “Pride”, another falsetto-driven pop anthem, full of twists and turns in the drum work. The midtempo, melancholic, electronica-induced “Tears”, once again with Taber’s vocals just slightly mixed into the background, has an irresistible melody. 80s sounding keyboard work is the name of the game on “Committed”, with those Larry Heard kind of vocals again thrown into the mix. And I can’t help but think of a gorgeous George Duke 80s ballad while listening to “I’m Just Tryna Talk To You”. “Unspoken Realities” reminds me of some of the best work by the Pat Metheny Group, with keys and synth work reminiscent of Lyle Mays. Mind you, this is a highly original and unique piece of art, with all tracks written by Taber. I think it’s heavily rewarding nevertheless if lots of music from other great artists comes up spinning in your head. Like there is a big Steely Dan factor, circa “Gaucho”, on my favorite tune here called “Susie”. Wonderful stuff. Perfect production and arrangement. Love those vocals on this one, especially.
We also get a deeply reflective and haunting “Prayer For My People” which still shows some sign of optimism after a pretty angry sounding drum work. The two final tracks, “Never Alone” and “Cold”, much too short as they are, still convey a captivating output. Highly recommended. And sympathetic, too. A quote from Taber from the press release: “As an artist I believe in making music not genres. This album is my perspective of the Eclecticism of Black American Music and how it has informed my craft over the years.“