Half protest statement and half call for renewal, America offers a wonderful combination of the familiar and the unexpected in improvised and heartland music.
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Label: Hopscotch Records
Catalog ID: HOP 18
Squidco Product Code: 2407
Packaging: Cardstock Sleeve
Recorded and mixed at Hopscotch Studios, August 2003 by Assif Tsahar and Cooper-Moore. Mastered by Tatsuya Nakatani.
Cooper-Moore-voice, bango, deedly-bo, piano, mouth bow, flute, drums
Assif Tsahar-tenor sax, bass clarinet, classical guitar
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• Show Bio for Cooper-Moore
"As a composer, performer, instrument builder/designer, storyteller, teacher, mentor, and organizer, Cooper-Moore [b. August 31, 1946] has been a major, if somewhat behind-the-scenes, catalyst in the world of creative music for over 40 years. As a child prodigy Cooper-Moore played piano in churches near his birthplace in the Piedmont region of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. His performance roots in the realm of avant jazz music date to the NYC Loft Jazz era in the early/mid-70s. His first fully committed jazz group was formed in 1970 - the collective trio Apogee with David S. Ware and drummer Marc Edwards. Sonny Rollins asked them to open for him at the Village Vanguard in 1973, and they did so with aplomb. A studio recording of this group was made in 1977, and issued as Birth of a Being on hatHut under Ware's name in 1979 (re-mixed and re-issued in expanded form on AUM Fidelity in 2015!). Following an evidently rather trying European tour with Ware, Beaver Harris, and Brian Smith in 1981, Cooper-Moore returned home and completely destroyed his piano, with sledgehammer and fire, in his backyard. He didn't play piano again until some years after, instead focusing his energies from 1981-1985 on developing and implementing curriculum to teach children through music via the Head Start program. Returning to New York in 1985, he spent a great part of his creative time working and performing with theatre and dance productions, largely utilizing his hand-crafted instruments. It was not until the early 90s, when William Parker asked him to join his group In Order To Survive, that Cooper-Moore's pianistic gifts were again regularly featured in the jazz context. In the early 'aughts the group Triptych Myth was his own first regular working jazz group in decades and together they blazed some trails and released two albums: one rich formative, and one exquisite. A destined creative re-union with David S. Ware in the Planetary Unknown quartet, the Digital Primitives trio with Assif Tsahar & Chad Taylor, and continued work with William Parker followed. Cooper-Moore's creative life continues well-strong and unabated into the present day. He will be/was the Lifetime Achievement Honoree at the 22nd iteration of Vision Festval, NYC on May 29, 2017."-Aum Fidelity (http://www.aumfidelity.com/cooper-moore.html)
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1. America 4:47
2. Back Porch Chill 4:52
3. Tuscarora's Cry 6:37
4. 12th Avenue Messengers 3:33
5. Lament For Trees 2:35
6. The Tortoise & The Buzzard 3:11
7. No Cracklin No Bread 5:07
8. Lament For Trees 6:44
9. Beyond The Years 5:07
10. Wounded Knee 9:04
sample the album:
"Half protest statement and half call for renewal, America offers a wonderful combination of the familiar and the unexpected. The heartland music known as Americana-for lack of a better term-meets up here with an eager partner in the form of improvisation.
As a definitive missive of social protest, the opening track presents the only vocals on the record: a cry for justice ("America, do you think about the lives that you have stolen?") followed by a statement of return ("America, we're gonna put you on the homeward bound train"). Cooper-Moore sings and plays the diddley bow (a rumbling bass instrument with a percussive attack) while Assif Tsahar adds intermittent cries on tenor saxophone. The loping shuffle has a catchy groove which works as a complement for Tsahar's shrill blowing, together laying out the emotional themes to which the duo will refer through the course of America.
Tsahar, whose reeds are familiar in out jazz circles for their energy and timbral range, takes multiple opportunities here to amble along the relative straight and narrow. The aptly titled "Back Porch Chill" offers a relaxed country blues, as does "Beyond The Years"; the two pieces identically entitled "Lament For Trees" unfold as sparse, open ballads with gentle overtones of swing. None of these tunes would work without Cooper-Moore's thoroughly grounded, organic playing on banjo, piano, mouth bow, and diddley-bow. Cooper-Moore has never been one for the spotlight and his obvious humility serves this project well.
But lest you get too comfortable, America shoots some fiery sparks as well. "12th Avenue Messengers" juxtaposes Tsahar's overblown, emotional horn alongside punchy drums and cymbal. It's a pointed and binding reminder of the record's message. "Wounded Knee" opens up in a similarly edgy, forward vein. Cooper-Moore, for all of his work on the folksy instruments, is in his true element on the piano, which he hammers mercilessly in swirls around Tsahar. Following an extended open stretch, both players close out the record with another emphatic blast.
For its open candor and unforced message, America is a near masterpiece. It's most certainly not for the faint of heart, despite a generally friendly feel, but that's all part of the message. This is unequivocally one of the finest records to emerge this year. (Even though friendly critics everywhere have assembled their lists before they even had a chance to hear the disc. Their loss, not yours, at least in this case.)"-Nils Jacobson, All About Jazz
Get additional information at All About Jazz
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Song Based Music
Saxophone & Drummer / Percussionist Duos