|Michael Cochrane-Piano, Calvin
Hill-Bass, David AlanGross-Saxophone, Alan
"Cochrane is both nimble
and tasty - adventurous in a subtle way."
- W.A. Brower, JazzTimes
"Cochrane's music proves that the jazz tradition
- Scott Yanow, Jazziz
On their debut CD, Lines of Reason, pianist
Michael Cochrane, alto saxophonist David Alan Gross, bassist Calvin
Hill, and drummer Alan Nelson put together a fresh, compelling and
swinging set. The program underscores their sensitive group interaction
and highlights their formidable composing skills. All but one selection
was penned by members of the group.
Tracks one through five were contributed by pianist Michael
Cochrane. On the opener, Cochrane looks back to his heroes Bud
Powell and Charlie Parker with the be-bop flavored original
"Morning in Lima." "The tune was written when I was on
the road in a little town called Lima, Ohio," Cochrane recalls.
"I actually wrote the piece in the hotel room right before the
gig."In contrast to the be-bop feel of Morning in Lima, Cochrane
explores a modal sensibility on track number two - "Room 118."
"The title came from a room that I used to teach in at
Rutgers," he remembers. "Between students I found that I had
the opportunity to write tunes." The opportunity to write "Streetsong,"
track number three, came to Cochrane just before moving out of his upper
west side New York residence. "That particular area had a heavy
Hispanic presence," he explains, "and the sounds of Latin
rhythms and especially salsa were constantly being heard on the street.
I lived there for seventeen years and "Streetsong" is my
reflection of the neighborhood sounds." On track number four, the
pianist - composer heads into ballad territory with the hauntingly
beautiful melody "Patient Spirit." "The title,"
clarifies Cochrane, "was derived from my Eastern philosophy studies
emphasizing that one should develop the quality of patience."
"East of Brazil," track number five, was the result of
Cochrane’s studies of the great samba and bossa-nova traditions of
Brazil. "I’ve done quite a bit of research on these subjects and
this tune is an outgrowth of that study."
For tracks six through eight saxophonist David Alan
Gross takes on the composing chores. "I was just trying to
establish a mood and certain atmosphere," states Gross, describing
"Step Into My World," track number six. The mood is definitely
percussive on "Philly Joe," track number seven. "I put
this tune together as a feature for Alan Nelson," states Gross.
"The opening figure is actually a Philly Joe Jones drum lick. I
loved what Alan did with it." The spotlight shines on Calvin Hill’s
virtuoso bass performance on Bass Instincts - track number eight.
"I wrote a very simple line with a modal type drone for
Calvin," explains Gross. "It was up to him to fill in the
spaces and he did it as only he can." The song "Opale,"
track number nine, is the composition of Italian pianist/composer
Francesco D’Errico. The smooth melody and interesting harmonic twists
were part of the band's performance repertoire since its inception. It
worked in well alongside the band's original material.
Drummer Alan Nelson's piece, "Cookie,"
track number ten, kicks right in with a memorable line and relaxed up
tempo groove. " My wife's name is Naome," says Nelson,
"but everyone in our family calls her ‘Cookie’. I wrote the
song for her."
The CD finishes out with bassist Calvin Hill’s
tribute to his former boss of seven years - drumming legend Max Roach.
The tune appropriately is entitled "Maxim," which was
originally conceived as a 4/4 straight ahead vehicle. "We tried it
a few different ways at the rehearsals," remembers Hill. "We
found it worked great with a funk groove. I think Max would get a kick
out of that."
- by Omar Farquar
Lines Of Reason is an exciting addition to the Bluejay
catalogue which showcases a stimulating and provocative band of players
with a refreshing conception, and some intriguing new compositions.
Hopefully this record will give them the recognition on the Jazz scene
which is long over-due and provide the opportunity for a world-wide
audience to hear this outstanding and vital group.
- Nat Simpkins & Cecil Brooks III, Executive