Monday, November 8, 2010

The Cookers: Warriors

JLP Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Warriors

So, who are The Cookers?

Merely a septet of jazz icons whose youngest member is more than 50 years old; the rest are in their 70s. As a result, it’s difficult to name an artist or group that these guys haven’t (collectively) performed with.

The instrumentation consists of two trumpets (Eddie Henderson and David Weiss), alto sax and flute (Craig Handy), tenor sax (Billy Harper), piano (George Cables), bass (Cecil Mcbee) and drums (Billy Hart). Most of these artists are better known as sidemen than leaders: Cables, as one example, was the pianist for almost every group that Art Pepper led during his career. Most of the others here worked with Art Blakey, Miles Davis and other top groups that reigned from the 1960s on.

These guys aren’t merely masters of their instruments; they’re also composers and arrangers. All but one of this album’s tracks are originals by members of the septet; interestingly, most are done at balladic tempos. Everything is beautifully arranged and swings wonderfully.

This is pure jazz, as played by master artists. I loved it.

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