Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Cookers: Warriors (2010)

David Weiss’ most important contributions to jazz have been the projects he conceives and coordinates. His latest undertaking is the Cookers, whose members have 250 years of collective experience and more than 1,000 recording credits. Weiss plays trumpet and Craig Handy plays alto saxophone and flute. Then there are five major but somewhat overlooked heavy hitters, best known from the 1960s and ’70s, who can still play their butts off: Billy Harper (tenor saxophone), Eddie Henderson (trumpet), George Cables (piano), Cecil McBee (bass) and Billy Hart (drums).
The Cookers is not a typical all-star group but a tight working band. They have been together since June 2007 and play 20 to 30 gigs a year. Warriors is their first recording. On the opening track, Freddie Hubbard’s “The Core,” the solos are fierce and keep coming. But even with all the solo firepower here, Warriors is not a blowing session. The other seven tracks, all originals by band members, include a ballad and two graceful, light-footed waltzes. Weiss’ arrangements, with their horn backgrounds and recurring themes, treat the septet like a little big band.
01. The Core
02. Spookarella
03. Close To You Alone
04. Priestess
05. Sweet Rita Suite 2: Her Soul
06. Capra Black
07. Ladybugg
08. U Phoria
Billy Harper - tenor sax
Eddie Henderson - trumpet
David Weiss - trumpet
Craig Handy - alto sax and flute
George Cables - piano
Cecil McBee - bass
Billy Hart - drums