Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Cookers Time and Time Again

Of course it is simplistic to describe The Cookers as an band of Hard Bop All Stars, but certainly the music here has its roots in the over 250 years of aggregate experience its members have. With one exception, Donald Harrison replacing Craig Handy on alto sax, the group’s line-up remains the same with Billy Harper on tenor sax, Dr. Eddie Henderson and David Weiss on trumpet; George Cables on piano, Cecil McBee on bass and Billy Hart on drums. The members of The Cookers have experience playing with some of the greatest jazz artists of the past half century including Art Pepper, Dexter Gordon, Lee Morgan, Herbie Hancock, Charles Lloyd, Max Roach, and Art Blakey. Additionally, every member is a leader of their own right as well as being notable composers and players.

Motema Music has issued their fourth CD, Time and Time Again and the album brings forth some vintage compositions such as Billy Harper’s Sir Galahad which was from his 1973 debut album Capra Black, while Cecil McBee contributes two new compositions. Other compositions are from the pens of Cables, Weiss and Hart for a program of music whose vitality is convincing proof that band’s name is deserved on the nine performances heard here

The tone is set with the opening Sir Galahad which opens with some very robust playing from Hart, followed by Weiss, Harrison and Cables. McBee’s original blues Slippin’ and Slidin’ provides a chance for the members to show the continual relevance of the blues with Harper, Weiss and McBee showcased with fine work. Cables Double Or Nothing is another burner with Harrison and Weiss shining before Hart explodes in his solo. It is followed by Cables tribute to the late Mulgrew Miller, Farewell Mulgrew with Weiss’ providing the horns arrangement whose ensemble playing sets the atmosphere for Cables playing being stately and moving. Harper again displays just how riveting a tenor saxophonist he is on Weiss Three Fall followed by the composer’s hot trumpet and terrific support from the rhythm section.

The title track, a Harper original is built upon a bass ostinato from McBee and includes more stirring playing from Harper, Henderson and Cables along with the superb rhythm section. The mix of strong compositions, solid ensemble playing with the superb rhythm section and the mix of technical mastery, passion, imagination and inventiveness make Time and Time Again another outstanding recording by The Cookers.

I received my review copy from a publicist.  Here is a video related to Sir Galahad and the album.





1 comment:

never slim.... said...

like the sound of that RW, might get myself a copy . . . .. .