Vermont Jazz Center Presents: George Cables Trio

Press Release – Author’s credit to Eugene Uman, Vermont Jazz Center, 802 254 9088,

Short Summary

Today’s date 3/3/22

Who: George Cables Trio – George Cables, piano; Essiet Essiet, acoustic bass; Jerome Jennings, drums.

What: Jazz piano legend performing standards and originals with his touring/recording ensemble.

When: Saturday, March 12th, 2022 at 8:00 PM

Where: The Vermont Jazz Center, 72 Cotton Mill Hill, #222, Brattleboro, VT 05301

Tickets available:  online at, by email at, and by phone 802 254 9088 x1.


Legendary Jazz Pianist, “Mr. Beautiful,” to Perform at the Vermont Jazz Center on Saturday, March 12th in Trio Setting

The Vermont Jazz Center will present the George Cables Trio in concert on March 12th at 8:00 PM. Cables will perform with his longstanding trio of Essiet Essiet on bass and Jerome Jennings on drums. The concert will be held in front of a full-capacity audience (proof of vaccination, photo ID, and masks required) and will also be live streamed on Facebook and the VJC’s website.

George Cables is a living legend of jazz piano. He is one of the few masters alive today who toured the world and recorded with many of the musicians who are currently hailed as the top artists of the post-bop movement. His live recordings with Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Art Pepper, Woody Shaw, and Freddie Hubbard are testaments to the era of burning-hot solos, where groups would stretch out on a jazz standard for 15-plus minutes. Soloists would develop their ideas at length, dramatically building their level of intensity until their improvised solos exploded into a ball of fire that was met with equal force by their unified bandmates. Such exhilaration was met with glee and fervor by audiences who understood the immensity of talent and inventiveness that were required to perform at that level. The listeners’ energy fused with that of the band, making the music even more intense. The music was also (and still is) dynamic and usually included at least one ballad per set to contrast with the ferocious intensity. George Cables is renowned for his tender treatment and delicate reharmonization of ballads. His contributions to the ensemble from every angle led DownBeat magazine to claim “George Cables has been one of the most effective team players in jazz.”

The rhythm sections with whom Cables has played include legendary bassist and drummer teams that were truly astounding – like George Mraz and Elvin Jones (with Art Pepper), Rufus Reid and Eddie Gladden (with Dexter Gordon), Ron McClure and Lennie White (with Joe Henderson), and Reggie Workman and Jack DeJohnette (with Freddie Hubbard). In those glory days, musicians would play six nights a week and tour for months on end; and in doing so they would steadily build their rapport with each other and gain familiarity with the group’s repertoire. As a team-player Cables demonstrates selflessness, grace and energy. His function as a member of the rhythm section is to make everyone else sound their best. During others’ improvised solos, he lays down beautiful chords, or communicates melodically with the soloist. But when it is his turn to solo, he turns up the heat; he demonstrates his dexterity and taps into an endless source of ideas and an uncanny ability to spur on rhythmical development. For example, Cables’ piano playing on Dexter Gordon’s Live at Keystone Korner from the late 1970s gives listeners a chance to hear both his accompanying skills as well as his own soloing development at the highest level. Gordon gave his sidemen plenty of room, and Cables thrives in an environment where he has the freedom to develop an idea to its fullest extent. In the three CD set with Dexter Gordon, Cables demonstrates his ability to use his vast vocabulary to build one chorus after another until he arrives at a point where rhythm becomes the unifying factor of the rhythm section. The climax arrives when they are all functioning as one, super-human, super-charged life force. That recording (for examples, check out “Tangerine” or “Gingerbread Boy”) is a classic example to be savored for both its energetic jolt and its sensitive interplay.


George Cables was born in New York City in 1944. He was initially trained as a classical pianist, during his tenures at the High School of Performing Arts and Mannes College of Music. As a young man he was drawn to jazz and began studying and playing gigs around New York at the Top of the Gate, Slugs, and other venues of lore. During that time, he toured and recorded with the legendary drummer Max Roach. His piano can be heard on Roach’s seminal album Lift Every Voice and Sing.  In 1969, Cables was the pianist for Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and then toured and recorded with tenor titan Sonny Rollins. Collaborations and recordings by Cables include work with numerous, high-stature artists. The longest standing relationship Cables developed was with alto saxophonist Art Pepper. Cables became Pepper’s pianist of choice, and, due to Cable’s carefully chosen chords and sensitive accompaniments, he earned the moniker “Mr. Beautiful” from Pepper. Cables has recorded almost 40 albums as a leader and upwards of 200 albums as a sideman with some of the greatest jazz musicians of our time including Frank Morgan, The Cookers, Archie Shepp, Jay Clayton, Eddie Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Art Pepper, Dexter Gordon, Bobby Hutcherson, Max Roach, Gary Bartz, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Shank, Phil Woods, Red Mitchell, Woody Shaw, Roy Haynes, Conrad Herwig, Seamus Blake, Chico Freeman, Winard Harper, Joe Henderson, Von Freeman, Sonny Rollins, John Stubblefield, Bobby Shew, Louis Hayes, Ralph Lalama, David “Fathead” Newman, Harold Land, Shorty Rogers, Joe Farrell, Kazumi Watanabe, Curtis Fuller, Joe Chambers, Frank Foster, Sarah Vaughan, Frank Lacy and many others.

George Cables continues to shine. At 77 years, he is still at the top of his game. He can often be found touring and recording with the jazz super-group, The Cookers (which also includes Donald Harrison, Eddie Henderson, Billy Harper, David Weiss, Cecil McBee and Billy Hart). His itinerary in the upcoming months include stints at the Village Vanguard, Dizzy’s, and Birdland. The Jazz Center feels fortunate to have the opportunity to present Mr. Cables in a trio setting.

As can be expected, George Cables is very picky about his own accompanists. His most recent album, Too Close for Comfort, which was released in 2020 features the bassist Essiet Okon Essiet, who will be joining him on March 12th at the Jazz Center.  Essiet was born in the U.S. to parents who emigrated from Nigeria. Because his father worked for the U.S. and Nigerian governments, the family moved often, including residencies in Europe and Africa. His early exposure to many cultures, languages, folkways and religions, fostered his world view of strength through diversity. “Some musicians are purist” says Essiet, “but I like to mix styles.” A short list of jazz icons who Essiet has performed and recorded with includes Benny Golson, Johnny Griffin, James Moody, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Cedar Walton, Sam Rivers, George Adams, Pat Martino, Kenny Burrell, Jackie McLean, Frank Morgan, Kenny Barron, Louis Hayes, Ben Riley, Jimmy Cobb, Billy Higgins, Billy Hart, Art Farmer, Abby Lincoln, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Billy Cobham, Bennie Maupin, Al Foster, Eddie Henderson, Steve Turre, Jon Faddis, Bobby Watson, Victor Lewis, Kenny Garrett, Kenny Kirkland, Mulgrew Miller, Jeff “Tain ” Watts, Mike Stern, Kevin Mahogany, Kurt Elling, Fort Apache Band, Danilo Perez, Claudia Acuna, Geri Allen, and Ralph Peterson. In 1997 Essiet joined the Blue Note Allstars which included Greg Osby, Javon Jackson, Tim Hagens, Kevin Hays, and Bill Stewart. In 2000 he joined Danilo Perez’s Motherland project for 2 years touring the US, Europe and Central America. Currently, Essiet leads his own group called IBO, named after a Nigerian tribe, which mixes jazz harmonies with West African rhythms.

Jerome Jennings will round out the trio. Jennings is a drummer, activist, bandleader, composer, sideman, educator and Emmy winning composer. His debut recording, The Beast, is a reflection of the everyday joys and traumas of black life in the U.S. It was named one of the top three jazz releases of the year by NPR and received a four star rating in DownBeat Magazine. Jennings has performed, toured and recorded with Sonny Rollins, Hank Jones, Gerald Wilson, Christian McBride, Ron Carter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis (J@LC), The Count Basie Orchestra, Philip Bailey, Henry Butler, and countless others. He has also made recordings and shared the stage with contemporary musicians Sean Jones, Camille Thurman, Jazzmeia Horn, Christian Sands, Charenee Wade, and Bokani Dyer to name a few. Jennings has taught or served as artist in residence at UNC Greensboro, John Hopkins Peabody Institute, Rutgers University, The Juilliard School, Jazz Music Institute (Brisbane, AU), Sydney Conservatory of Music, Xavier College (Melbourne, AU), The Ohio State University, Aspen Colorado, Brigham Young University, University Of Ghana – Legon School Of Performing Arts, Rockport Jazz Workshop, and the Universidad Sergio Arboleda (Bogota, Colombia) and The National Taiwan University of The Arts.

On Saturday, March 12th, listeners at the Jazz Center will be treated to a quintessential piano trio experience. They will hear reharmonizations of familiar jazz standards and tuneful, original compositions with rich chord progressions and captivating arrangements. Come find out why the online magazine The Jazz Word states: “It’s certainly easy to ascertain why Cables has been a lasting force in the jazz idiom. His melodic improvisations are easily enjoyed with a deep sense of fluidity infusing each tune,” and All About Jazz calls Cables “one of the jazz world’s more proficient and accessible contemporary pianists.”

VJC is proud to present Mr. Cables in concert – he is a link to the living history of jazz, but he is also a person who continues to evolve and develop his style and abilities. He is a humble, generous man whose music embodies the caring spirit of a life well lived. Audience members will hear that connection in his music.

The VJC is grateful to have received sponsorship for this concert from Diana Bingham, a graceful friend who lights up the room with her positive energy. Diana’s contributions to the area’s art scene have subtly enhanced our lives beyond measure. We are also grateful for the longstanding support of Dave Ellis and Ann Greenawalt of Ellis Music who have been championing the music programs of Vermont schools for generations. Publicity is underwritten by The Commons and The Brattleboro Reformer. The VJC is also grateful to the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Humanities Council and New England Foundation of the Arts for their support and increased efforts to stabilize the existence of arts organizations during the pandemic.

Admission to this March 12th, in-person event is offered on a sliding fee scale from $20 to $40 per person. The online streaming of this concert will be offered free of charge but donations are welcomed and just a click away.  Please give generously and support live music. Access to the on-line event can be found online at and at

Tickets for The George Cables Trio at the Vermont Jazz Center are $20+ general admission (contact VJC about educational group discounts); available online at, by email at, or by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line at 802-254-9088, ext. 1. Handicapped access for the in-person event is available by emailing






Solo –  Monk Medley:


Trio – I Should Care


Trio – Helen’s Song:


-Live at Port Townshend:


Solo Piano, Up Jumped Spring:

Leave a Reply