“The Cookers come from the idea of an album called The Night of the Cookers, on which Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan started doing trumpet battles. It’s a special album. All the guys in the Cookers either played with Freddie or Lee. And most of those guys have played also with Art Blakey, so that idea of “burning fire” and that kind of drive is a part of a continuum. That’s part of the Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan thing and The Cookers. So … the Cookers cook!” - Billy Harper
Experience counts, especially in jazz. The more time musicians spend interpreting tunes and interacting with each other, the more articulation an audience can expect. You can hear the fruits of such work in the expressive language The Cookers bring to the bandstand and to their four critically acclaimed recordings, Warriors, Cast the First Stone, Believe and Time and Time Again (which was the iTunes Jazz CD of the year in 2014). This exciting all-star sextet summons up an aggressive mid ‘60s spirit with a potent collection of expansive post-bop originals marked by all the requisite killer instincts and pyrotechnic playing expected of some of the heaviest hitters on the scene today.
Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson and Billy Hart all came up in the heady era of the mid ‘60s. It was a period that found the dimensions of hard bop morphing from their original designs, and each of these guys helped facilitate the process as members of some of the most important bands of the era. Hart and Henderson were members of Herbie Hancock’s groundbreaking Mwandishi group; Billy Harper was part of Lee Morgan’s last group, as well as being a member of Max Roach’s Quartet and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
David Weiss, Santi Debriano and Stephen Scott are from a more recent generation and are experts in this forthright lingo, having gained experience performing with the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Benny Green, Sonny Rollins, Betty Carter, Joe Henderson, Ron Carter and Archie Shepp.
Today, The Cookers "embody the serious-as-death commitment that it took to thrive on the New York scene some four decades ago" (Andrew Gilbert, The Boston Globe). And that means, even as the senior members of the band reach veteran status, they continue to challenge themselves and each other to push the boundaries of their art.
Billy Harper (tenor sax), Eddie Henderson (trumpet), David Weiss (trumpet), Stephen Scott (piano), Santi Debriano (bass), Billy Hart (drums).
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