Jerome Cooper

Unpredictability of Predictability

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Not many jazz drummers present entire albums of themselves in solo format, but when they do, chances are they're going to haul out everything including the kitchen sink to dazzle the listener with their range and dexterity. Not Jerome Cooper. This superb musician, known primarily for his masterful and invaluable contributions to the fine trio Revolutionary Ensemble, treats his solo performances as free-standing compositions scored for only certain instruments from which he extracts huge volumes of sounds and rhythms. For example, "Bert the Cat" is written for balaphone (an African ancestor of the marimba), chiramia (a double-reed instrument that sounds liked a more softly-timbred shenai), bass drum, and sock cymbal. Using only these four elements, Cooper constructs a rich, propulsive theme so inherently fascinating that one soon forgets one is listening to only a solo percussionist. Cooper has no interest in wowing the listener by playing fast or loud, but simply desires to develop lovely rhythms and melodic patterns and allow them to flower. A fine recording and wonderful antidote for those who claim to be bored by drum solos.

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