Michael Cochrane

Quartet Music

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Michael Cochrane is yet another one of the far-too-large group of veteran musicians who is deserving of far more acclaim than he has received, as he is missing from many of the major jazz reference books. Because his recordings as a leader have been for European labels, such as this Steeplechase CD, this explains this omission to a certain extent, but this first-rate studio session from 2001 merits exploration. Joined by tenor saxophonist Bob Malach (another musician worthy of wider attention), bassist Calvin Hill, and drummer Jeff Hirshfield, Cochrane interprets compositions by fellow pianists, including Bill Evans' "Orbit," Cedar Walton's "When Love Is New," Chick Corea's "Promise," and McCoy Tyner's "The Greeting," none of which have been recorded very much. Cochrane finds his own voice rather than emulating the composer in each of these tracks, even stripping down the thunderous cascades found in Tyner's work. Malach's sax is solid without ever trying to overpower the music. In addition to easygoing interpretations of Joe Henderson's "Step Lightly" and Jerry Bergonzi's "Red's Blues," Cochrane's two strong originals, the brisk and constantly shifting "Tones for Bones" as well as the catchy chant-like ballad "Simba," add to the value of this recommended release.

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