The Cookers – Time And Time Again (2014) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

The Cookers – Time And Time Again (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:01:47 minutes | 720 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Motema

For their fourth release, a true Jazz supergroup, The Cookers, have swapped out saxophonist Craig Handy for Donald Harrison, raising the median age of the septet to just under 70. All of that longevity doesn’t mean complacency, however: The 69-year-old pianist George Cables, septuagenarians Eddie Henderson (trumpet), Billy Harper (tenor saxophone), Cecil McBee (bass) and Billy Hart (drums) and the Cookers’ two youngsters, Harrison (54) and trumpeter David Weiss (49) may bring well-defined personal styles to this ongoing project, but there’s nothing retro about them. The Cookers cook, all right, and if anything they’ve become even more assured, skillful and single-minded with each new offering.

Following their critically acclaimed album BELIEVE, The Cookers’ “Time and Time Again” once again reveals this jazz super-group’s consistently profound compositional and improvisational mastery. The sheer power of their mid 60s post-bop spirit, placed in a contemporary setting, continues to thrive and grow in their 7th year as an international act, embarking on their busiest tour season to date.

Each of the nine tracks on Time and Time Again was composed by a single member of the group-all but Harrison and Henderson contribute-and while such hopscotching of sources might in lesser hands result in a scattered program, there’s an unyielding unity pervading this recording. Harper’s opening “Sir Galahad” is an oldie, going back to his 1973 leader debut, Capra Black, which also featured Cables. The new arrangement, one of three tracks on the album arranged by Harper, is brighter, fuller and less wistful, easily identifiable as a 21st-century jam despite its pedigree. Of the five tracks arranged by Weiss, McBee’s two entries, the alternately lumbering and frenetic blues “Slippin’ and Slidin’” (no relation to the Little Richard hit) and the sprawling “Dance of the Invisible Nymph” are particularly praiseworthy. Typically, each number allows solo turns by three or four of the musicians, but it’s Cables’ “Farewell Mulgrew,” in which only his piano gets the spotlight, that provides so much of the album’s emotion. It’s a fitting tribute and a loving evocation.

01 – Sir Galahad
02 – Reneda
03 – Slippin’ and Slidin’
04 – Double or Nothing
05 – Farewell Mulgrew
06 – Three Fall
07 – Time and Time Again
08 – Dance of the Invisible Nymph
09 – Dance Eternal Spirits Dance

Recorded on May 5 & 6, 2014 at Avatar Studios, New York.

Eddie Henderson – trumpet
David Weiss – trumpet
Billy Harper – tenor sax
Donald Harrison – alto sax
George Cables – piano
Cecil McBee – bass
Billy Hart – drums