Sunday, October 03, 2021

The Cookers - Look Out (Gearbox Recordings, 2021)

The Cookers are a confederation of veteran musicians, five who came up in the post bop crucible of the 1960’s: Billy Harper on tenor saxophone, Cecil McBee on bass, George Cables on piano, Billy Hart on drums and Eddie Henderson on trumpet. Rounding out the group is a musician from a generation later, Donald Harrison on alto saxophone. Although this is their first album in five years, it’s their sixth overall with strong compositions brought in by several members, arranged in most cases by producer David Weiss who is a fine trumpeter in his own right. Two of Billy Harper’s compositions are given lengthy airings, “Destiny Is Yours” and “Somalia” which is introduced with wordless vocalizing before heading to a strong uptempo performance with the saxophones and trumpet pushing hard and the rhythm section stoking the group’s engine in excellent fashion. George Cables contributed three tracks to this album including the deeply swinging track “The Mystery Of Monifa Brown” which is the lengthy album opener, providing a strong theme and launching pad for powerful riffing and extended soloing. This album worked very well, in fact I think it may be their finest to date. The ensemble playing is crisp, rhythm section sections swings admirably, and the solos are well built and concise. There's no sense of the music being time-locked to the hard/post bop era however, it sounds like up to date modern mainstream jazz played by a group of true professionals. Look Out -

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