b. 6 August 1945, Hyde, Cheshire, England. Trombonist Cooke began his career as a semi-pro player with Manchester band the Blue Lotus Jazzmen in the early 60s, and also played with many other local outfits including the Smoky City Jazzband, Johnny Tippet’s Jazzmen, and the Red River Jazzmen. In 1967 he left Manchester for Birmingham, before moving further south to join Terry Lightfoot in 1968. Following spells with band leaders Alan Elsdon and Alex Welsh, Cooke worked as a freelance with Digby Fairweather, Lennie Hastings and Dave Shepherd, before beginning a seven-year association with Keith Smith, with whose ‘Hefty Jazz’ he recorded and toured extensively, visiting the US in 1985. In mid-1987 Cooke replaced Campbell Burnap in the Acker Bilk band. He has a justified reputation as one of Britain’s most technically-gifted trombonists, and plays in a hot, shouting style, strongly influenced by Abe Lincoln.