Click here to [close]

Monday, November 12, 2012

Coat Cooke : Conversations and High Wire

Saxophonist, composer, band leader and figure on improvisation scene in western Canada, Coat Cooke is a player with a command of a wide range of styles and approaches. He recently released two very different and intriguing duo albums, one paired up with percussionist Joe Poole and the other with guitarist Rainier Weins.

Conversations w/ Joe Poole (Now Orchestra, 2012) **** 

Coversations is a collection of improvizations that really cook along. The first tune "Checkin' In" has Cooke quietly delivering melodic snippets with a slightly fuzzy tone. This tune keeps its intensity in check, and under Cooke's restrained melodies, Poole provides a lot of splash to keep the it buoyant. The improvisation that follows, "Feeling Fit" takes off with a stronger feel and engages in a little back and forth before they really start digging in into some heady lines and runs. A true highlight is the intense "Bob Weaver". Pooles drumming is so tight and propulsive that you can feel a moving baseline in between the two players. Each track has its own distinct flavor and feel. 

This is a solid recording and a great introduction to both musicians for me. Listening in on their conversations is enjoyable and their repartee doesn't miss a beat.

High Wire w/ Ranier Wiens (Now Orchestra, 2012) ***½ 

Now with guitarist Wiens, High Wire is actually a more percussive and textural affair than Conversations. Well named, this album is an document of daring acts on the sonic tight rope, and it's the sonic funambulism that gives this album its edge. Cooke balances on Weins' rhythms precariously, navigating deftly between Wiens' thumb piano wires and his percussive guitar work. A texturist, Rainier's approach to guitar is unusual and unexpected.
Overall, High Wire, to me, is not as captivating as Conversations but still full of original playing and fascinating ideas. 

Available through the NOW Orchestra ( web site