The Cookers

Believe

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The Cookers' third CD is a bit more diverse than their earlier efforts, though still featuring the same septet (tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, trumpeters Eddie Henderson and David Weiss, alto saxophonist Craig Handy, pianist George Cables, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Billy Hart). Harper's staccato "Believe, For It Is True" is an unusual opener, never letting up on the tension, with the focus on intense solos by the composer and Weiss, along with intricate, demanding ensembles. The Cables-penned "Ebony Moonbeams" has an infectious Latin undercurrent, showcasing Henderson's expressive, vocal-like horn, along with strong solos by Handy and the pianist. The sole tune not written by a member of the ensemble is an explosive rendition of Wayne Shorter's hard bop classic "Free for All," an extended workout that captures the energy of the '60s but with a modern touch. McBee's abstract "Tight Squeeze" has an eerie air, with abstract solos, while Hart's upbeat post-bop vehicle "Naaj" wraps the sessions up with a flourish.

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