THE COOKERS, BELIEVE

"Believe" (Motema) surely solidifies the stature of drummer Billy Hart, especially since this recording arrives so soon after his own "All Our Reasons" (ECM), one of this year’s best jazz albums. On Believe, he’s part of an A-list team of seasoned pros and jazz veterans. The boss frontline includes tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, trumpeters Eddie Henderson and David Weiss, plus alto sax player Craig Handy, and you can’t top the ace rhythm section with pianist George Cables and bassist Cecil McBee. They are the Cookers. From the Coltrane-ish opener, “Believe, For It Is True,” a slow unfolding blues with majestic solos from Harper and Weiss to the closer, “Naaj,” where the horns soar over a triumphant chorus, the Cookers indeed smoke through a mostly original program.

There’s satisfaction in the group’s old school stylings, but the compositions are bereft of cobwebs. The tracks by Cecil McBee, “Temptations” and “Tight Squeeze,” have a steely modernity that gives soloists like Henderson and Weiss some breathing room to shine. Pianist Cables always writes great tunes and his “Ebony Moonbeams” and the refreshing “But He Knows,” dials up the lyrical quotient with solid solos by all. As with their 2010 debut, "Warriors", and 2011 release, "Cast The First Stone", the Cookers deliver straight-ahead jazz with brains and brawn and Believe is beautifully rendered. The magnificent seven ride again! (8 tracks; 64:03 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: THE COOKERS, BELIEVE

Saturday, June 30, 2012

THE COOKERS, BELIEVE

"Believe" (Motema) surely solidifies the stature of drummer Billy Hart, especially since this recording arrives so soon after his own "All Our Reasons" (ECM), one of this year’s best jazz albums. On Believe, he’s part of an A-list team of seasoned pros and jazz veterans. The boss frontline includes tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, trumpeters Eddie Henderson and David Weiss, plus alto sax player Craig Handy, and you can’t top the ace rhythm section with pianist George Cables and bassist Cecil McBee. They are the Cookers. From the Coltrane-ish opener, “Believe, For It Is True,” a slow unfolding blues with majestic solos from Harper and Weiss to the closer, “Naaj,” where the horns soar over a triumphant chorus, the Cookers indeed smoke through a mostly original program.

There’s satisfaction in the group’s old school stylings, but the compositions are bereft of cobwebs. The tracks by Cecil McBee, “Temptations” and “Tight Squeeze,” have a steely modernity that gives soloists like Henderson and Weiss some breathing room to shine. Pianist Cables always writes great tunes and his “Ebony Moonbeams” and the refreshing “But He Knows,” dials up the lyrical quotient with solid solos by all. As with their 2010 debut, "Warriors", and 2011 release, "Cast The First Stone", the Cookers deliver straight-ahead jazz with brains and brawn and Believe is beautifully rendered. The magnificent seven ride again! (8 tracks; 64:03 minutes)

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