Reviews that mention Cooper-Moore

November 1, 2018

Alan Braufman

Valley of Search
Valley of Search VOS001

Valley of Search chronicles music created at 501 Canal Street, one of the cynosures of New York’s mid-1970s loft scene. More notably the sounds on these nine tracks, originally released on the Indian Navigation label, amply capture the fervent sincerity that five younger players brought to free-form improvisation. More distinctively the session confirms that not only weren’t all jazzers of the time involved with fusion, neo-mainstream and pop-Jazz, but that musical continuity exists among the freedom seekers of the 1960s New Thing, the Loft Era interpreters and the atonal experimenters prominent in Jazz discourses since the mid-1990s. MORE

March 6, 2017

In Print

Loft Jazz: Improvising New York in the 1970s
By Michael C. Heller (University of California Press)

By Ken Waxman

Unlike earlier styles named for locations (Kansas City, West Coast) or sounds (Bop, Stride), New York’s so-called Loft Jazz movement of the ‘70s was defined by real estate. The result of policies that allowed large swathes of the southern part of the city to be neglected waiting for potential redevelopment, large, often unoccupied and un-serviced industrial lofts in Soho were soon legally or not occupied by artists drawn by expansive spaces and minimal costs. Many lofts housed experimental jazz musicians, who hosted sessions that eventually became regular concert spaces. Soon not only were locals like drummer Juma Sultan, saxophonist Sam Rivers and trumpeter James DuBois presenting door gigs; but adventurous players from the Mid-West with more business savvy and California music emigrants were sharing the spotlight. Using first-person interviews and archival researchm including reproductions of posters, flyers and LP covers, Michael G. Heller examines the scene’s rise and eventual fall from historical, pedagogical and sociological perspectives. MORE

April 7, 2016

Artist Feature

Chad Taylor
By Ken Waxman

Modestly drummer Chad Taylor declares: “Being a band leader is a lot of work and effort for me. Some people have a natural gift for leading a band, but I’m not one of them.” Still the Brooklyn-based percussionist works as often as most leaders. For a start the Windy City-raised Taylor, 43, is, with cornetist Rob Mazurek, one half of the Chicago Underground Duo (CUD) plus the CU’s other iterations. He’s also one-third of Digital Primitives with multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore and saxophonist Assif Tsahar, and locally can be found gigging with everyone from Marc Ribot to Steve Swell. Plus he still plays, usually overseas, with his Chicago hommies. “I really enjoy working with people with the goal of creating a language regardless of what style it is,” he affirms. MORE

December 1, 2014

Digital Primitives

Lipsomuch/Soul Searchin’
Hopscotch Records HOP51

One dictionary definition of primitive is “being the first or earliest of the kind”, whereas digital can be defined as “available in electronic form”. Consequently you come to the underlying impetus for this trio, which disseminates in the most contemporary manner sounds produced by acoustic instruments, some of which pre-date modernity.

While that description may make the Digital Primitives sound affectedly retrograde, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the group, which has been together on-and-off for a decade or more, consists of three of the world’s busiest improvisers. Israeli-born Assif Tsahar, who plays tenor saxophone, bass clarinet and m’bira, here spent years in New York working with the likes of William Parker before resettling in Tel Aviv. Drummer Chad Taylor, best known for his affiliation with many Chicago Underground projects, lives in Jersey City. While New Yorker Cooper-Moore, otherwise an erudite piano explorer, here works out on the most primitive of the instruments: diddly-bo, twinger, mouth bow and fretless banjo. MORE

February 11, 2014

Black Host

Life In the Sugar Candle Mines
Northern Spy NS 039

Adam Lane Trio

Absolute Horizon

NoBusiness NBCD61

The Sabir Mateen

Jubilee Ensemble

NotTwo MW 862-2

By Ken Waxman

From the time he relocated to NYC from Virginia about a decade ago, alto saxophonist Darius Jones made a major impact on the local scene, partnering with the likes of pianist Matthew Shipp, plus releasing acclaimed CDs as a leader. But Jones is a collaborative musician and these notable discs find him using his considerable talents to help realize others’ visions. MORE

December 23, 2013

8th Annual Jazz Critics Poll – NPR Music

Ken Waxman
(The New York City Jazz Record, Jazz Word)


1. Convergence Quartet, Slow and Steady (NoBusiness)

2. Andrew Cyrille, Duology (Jazzwerkstatt)

3. Black Host, Life in the Sugar Candle Mines (Northern Spy)

4. Scott Neumann, Blessed (Origin)

5. Michel Edelin, Resurgence (RogueArt)

6. Ab Baars-Meinard Kneer-Bill Elgart, Give No Quarter (Evil Rabbit)

7. Maria Faust, Jazz Catastrophe (Barefoot)

8. Barry Altschul, The 3dom Factor (TUM)

9. Mark Dresser, Nourishments (Clean Feed)

10. Alexey Kruglov-Alexey Lapin-Jaak Sooäär-Oleg Yudanov, Military Space (Leo) MORE

September 24, 2013

Black Host

Life In the Sugar Candle Mines
Northern Spy NS 039

Taking another shot at stretching improvised music’s boundaries is New York super group Black Host, which brings to boil inflections from Free Jazz, modal improvising, electronics, Thrash Rock and ProgRock to forge its own sound. Overall, nuanced friction could be described as the performance mode here.

With all tracks but two credited to drummer Gerald Cleaver, who is also listed as contributing sound design, Cleaver obviously had a major influence on the end product. Yet as a drummer who has worked with players as different as saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, he obviously has wide-ranging interests. Ditto for guitarist Brandon Seabrook, who is sometimes found in Rock settings, and piano and synthesizer player Cooper-Moore, who when not working with the likes of bassist William Parker, creates his own version of roots music on home-made instruments. Meantime alto saxophonist Darius Jones and bassist Pascal Niggenkemper are busy jazzers. MORE

March 15, 2008

Lewis Barnes’ Sonic Shades

At The Living Theater
New York, December 14, 2007

Trumpeter Lewis “Flip” Barnes quartet gig at a Lower East Side basement space that usually houses New York’s storied Living Theater, was notable for more reasons than being was one of the veteran brassman’s infrequent band-leading engagement.

Both expressive and assertive in his playing, the trumpeter is a long-time valued associate of William Parker, contributing to most of the bass man’s manifold projects, most notably the Creative Music Orchestra and Parker’s touring quartet. Astringent alto saxophonist Rob Brown, Barnes’ partner in that quartet was also in the front line that night in December, but Parker’s place was taken by bassist Todd Nicholson, who usually plays with violinist Billy Bang. MORE

April 17, 2006


Lost Brother
Hopscotch Records HOP 33

LOST BROTHER seems to be a misnomer, at least if it’s supposed to apply to any of the performers on this trio CD. For if any one of Chicago drummer Hamid Drake and New Yorkers, reedist Assif Tsahar and multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore, was ever a “lost brother” he’s certainly found himself as evidenced by this CD. Furthermore so collaborative is their improvising here that you’d think that the three are reuniting musical siblings.

In truth the Israeli-born Tsahar, Louisiana-born Drake and the Virginia-born Cooper-Moore met and first played together as adults. All have extensive recording histories – especially Drake, who seems to have played with nearly every musician from A (Sardinian guitarist Paolo Angeli) to Z (Chicago percussionist Michael Zerang) – and each of the other two has recorded in duo with Tsahar. But this is the three players’ first trio session, with the nine instant compositions giving each enough space in which to express himself. Each is proficient on more than one instrument. Tsahar plays both tenor saxophone and bass clarinet; Drake drums, tablas and frame drums, and Cooper-Moore ashimba, twanger and diddley-bow. MORE

February 13, 2006


Aggregate AGCD 004

The Beautiful
AUM Fidelity AUM 035

Triptych Myth and Trio Pianissimo suggest the parameters of these discs – the classic jazz piano trio – but second glances reveal subtle differences. Innately traditionalist projects, the CDs feature two trios putting a POMO stamp on a configuration which has been an unvarying modern jazz staple for at least 50 years.

With seven of the 10 compositions his and his only instrument the 88s, THE BEAUTIFUL seems designed to prove that pianist Cooper-Moore can function in a semi-conventional environment as an equal part of a three-sided equation. Preceding the band’s name with his own on the other hand, percussionist Gregg Bendian gives notice that although oriented around pianist Steve Hunt, CHANGE reflects Bendian’s ideas. Except for Thelonious Monk’s “Gallop’s Gallop” and a brief Hunt-penned prelude, the drummer also wrote all the material. MORE

June 20, 2005


Tells Untold
Hopscotch Records HOP30

We Is
Delmark DE-557

Reeds and miscellaneous instruments, especially percussion, figure in these improv/roots duo sessions. Multi-percussionist Kahil El’Zabar from Chicago is as expert in relating African rhythmic variations to jazz as New York multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore is in adapting temporal Black timbres to improvisations.

Complementing each man’s beat sophistication is, in El’Zabar’s case the tenor saxophone and bass clarinet of Paris resident David Murray, while Cooper-Moore’s partner is Israeli-born Assif Tsahar, whose proficiency on Murray’s chosen instruments extends to additional skills playing muzmar or Arabic oboe, acoustic guitar and thumb piano. Here El’Zabar also offers variations on the batà and thumb piano as well as the regular traps set, while on TELLS UNTOLD, Moore mixes virtuosity on ethnic instruments like the harp, shofar, deedly-bo and mouth-bow with outings on flute, synthesizer and others. MORE

April 5, 2004


Triptych Myth
Hopscotch 14

Drive By
Fish of Milk RER NECKS3

Piano, bass and drums combos have been one of the defining configurations of improvised music for more than five decades. But as these two exceptional trio sessions prove, with the right ideas and techniques, there’s still plenty that can be done with this traditional form.

Microtonalists, Australians The Necks do cheat a little bit on DRIVE BY. Using all the resources of a modern studio, keyboard man Chris Abrahams is able to doubletrack himself on piano, electric piano and organ, while drummer Tony Buck adds different percussion and samples. But seemingly tireless bassist Lloyd Swanton still uses his acoustic model to shape the rhythmic foundation of the one, more than hour-long piece that makes up the CD. MORE

March 15, 2004


Hopscotch 18

Avatarof invented-from-necessity instruments, Cooper-Moore is able to put all of his talents to good use on this 10-track CD.

Those who only know him as a risk-taking pianist in bands like In Order To Survive will discover the down-home side of his personality as he improvises on traditional Southern instruments like the one-string diddley-bo, mouth bow and banjo. Those -- usually in New York -- who have seen him use these skiffle band ingredients in folkloric settings will marvel at his skills at piano, drums-skins and cymbal, as well as a vocalist. MORE

July 27, 2000


Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble, Live 11/20/99
Boxholder BXH 008/009

Jazz's flirtation with non-Western music has been going on almost since Duke Ellington wrote his first "Jungle" composition. But serious convergence with these sounds really happened when composer/performers such as Yusef Lateef and Art Blakey got to visit Africa in the 1940s and 1950s. Since then whole strains of so-called "ethnic" musics -- including Arabic, Greek, Balkan and Yiddish -- have been added to the jazz continuum. But few musicians bring the same aesthetic and understanding of these different cultures' sounds as do the members of Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble.