Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Album Review: The Cookers - Look Out!

The Cookers
Look Out!
**** out of *****

The Cookers deliver their post-bop styling with gusto on the group's sixth album Look Out! This collection of originals recall the mid to late sixties heyday of this jazz genre and with good reason, a few players were contributors to the eras sound. 

The band is really a modern day super group linking generations of jazz as the collaborators, Billy Harper: tenor sax, Eddie Henderson: trumpet, David Weiss: trumpet, Donald Harrison: alto sax, George Cables: piano, Cecil McBee: bass, and Billy Hart: drums have played with everyone from Herbie Hancock, to Charles Lloyd, to Art Blakey and beyond. 

The record begins with some eerie piano work from Cables but quickly the group lock in and flow, "The Mystery of Monifa Brown" seems effortless as the group melds perfectly allowing each artist to breath as the band explores the sounds. The bouncing groove of "Destiny Is Yours" gives way to an elongated tenor sax solo from Harper then trumpet work as the band lets the players shine while "Cat's Out Of The Bag" continues the same texture, groove and tone but gives it over to Harrison for some alto individual styling.  

Recorded at Van Gelder studio in Englewood Cliffs and cut using a Van Gelder-era '67 Haeco Sculley lathe at Gearbox Records, the album is going for a specific sound and tone and The Cookers nail it. 

"Somalia" incorporates melodic chants and squirrelly brass runs all around Hart's impressive drums while "Traveling Lady" ebbs and flows with a sweet rhythm as sax and trumpets gloriously float on top. On a more relaxed front the super cool "AKA Reggie" slows it down and mellows the players out with style and grace; there is not much this collection of players can't do. Closer "Mutima" is a perfect summation of their collective talents, wrapping up the album with bass, drums and piano setting the tone as the horns ride in and deliver punctuation and solos when needed.   

The bonafides of The Cookers are without question and the music delivered here lives up to the resumes of all involved. Look Out! is a throwback jazz record in the best of ways. 
Support the artists, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

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