When you were young and your heart was like an open book, you used to say, live and let live! Well now that you’re more experienced, you’ll certainly enjoy The Cookers, a super-septet of legendary jazz musicians who’ve lived and let live. Their newest release for Motema called Believe, is a staunch reminder of the collective talents of five of its members –tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, pianist George Cables, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Billy Hart.
These five have performed with such great jazz musicians as Lee Morgan, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Dexter Gordon, Art Pepper and Charles Lloyd and together, they are the perfect combination for the septet’s innovative founder/ trumpeter David Weiss and exceptionally talented alto saxophonist Craig Handy. Harper, Cables, McBee and Hart composed all of the songs with the exception of “Free For All” which was composed by Wayne Shorter.
The set opens with the “Believe, For It’s True,” a track from Harper’s 1980 album The Believer. The daring solos emanating from Harper’s tenor saxophone and Weiss’ trumpet form the basis for this great composition that keeps you interested from the first note to the last. The adventurous explorations continue on McBees’ beautiful ballad called “Temptation(s),” which segues into “Ebony Moonbeams,” another beautiful gem written by George Cables.
The Cookers heat things up with Wayne Shorter’s “Free For All,” arranged by Weiss and on which five great solos take this set to another level. Listeners will certainly appreciate the daring improvisations that definite say something about the top-to-bottom command of their instruments. This set really cooks! Overall, this recording is an explosive set of post-bop originals that will make you Believe in The Cookers!