The new disc by the septet The Cookers harkens back to the
days of the classic hard bop sessions on Blue Note by Art Blakey's
Jazz Messengers, Wayne Shorter and Jackie McLean.
The music soars with fine soloing on the front line with Billy Harper on
tenor, Donald Harrison on alto and two trumpeters, David Weiss and Eddie
Henderson. The rhythm section of pianist George Cables, bassist Cecil
McBee and drummer Billy Hart keep things firmly grounded and in the pocket.
Highlights include the Harper composition "Sir Galahad" that leads off the
disc with an intro that is reminiscent of Auld Lange Syne before the band
launches off into a Coltranesque flight that features great soloing from
Harper, Weiss, Harrison and Cables. "Farewell Mulgrew" is a lovely
salute to the late pianist Mulgrew Miller by Cables who handles all the
soloing. And the Cecil McBee tune "Dance of the Invisible Nymph" with
its odd time is another delight. McBee is the only member who doesn't
offer a solo on the entire disc oddly enough.
The only change in the lineup of the group since it's last release two years
ago,is that Harrison replaces Craig Handy on alto.The group taps into their
deep reservoir of influences and collectively have come up with another stellar
session that will further enhance their reputation as one of the premier bands
in jazz today.