Michael Cooke | Statements

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Michael Cooke Black Hat Records MySpace page Black Hat Records YouTube site

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United States - California - SF

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Jazz: Free Jazz Avant Garde: Structured Improvisation Moods: Type: Improvisational
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by Michael Cooke

"Statements" is a numbered limited edition enhanced CD for PC and MAC. The enhancement contains an interview, art and poetry by Michael and other artists, information on the instruments used, the stories behind the songs and more.
Genre: Jazz: Free Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Jagged
4:50 album only
2. Viva Guatemala!
6:22 album only
3. 35 ¢
4:34 album only
4. Cogitation
7:34 album only
5. Three Steps Down
7:44 album only
6. Head Bobbin'
6:48 album only
7. Malevolence
5:28 album only
8. 38
0:38 album only
9. Amblin'
2:46 album only
10. Neptune
5:56 album only
11. Less
4:25 album only
12. Early Exit
15:16 album only


Album Notes
Liner Notes:

Jazz is often considered a conversation, or dialogue, between performers. Solo recordings, like this one, are more like singular statements. In this album, I have attempted to tell stories from my life, especially of the last two years, and in the process have collected a series of my own statements. Sartre said, "All that we are is the result of what we have thought." In this light, the statements in this album must be me. Here are brief backgrounds, and the inspirations, for each piece:

Jagged (alto sax)

Life is filled with rough edges, but one must continue to seek a level path.
(After Eric Dolphy)

Viva Guatemala! (flute, bassoon, rain stick, clapping)

In the fall of 2000, two friends and I drove from San Francisco to Guatemala. It was the first extended vacation I had had since 1993. On the long drive through Mexico, we kept saying "Viva Guatemala!" as a rallying cry for the adventure.
(After Roland Kirk & Julius Hemphill)

35¢ (bass clarinet)

My friend Jay Carter has introduced me to many musicians I have not heard of before. One was the clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre. The title of this piece
comes from a story told by Steve Swallow, the bassist in one of Giuffre's most groundbreaking trio configurations (with pianist Paul Bley), about the
night their group broke up after a gig that paid each member 35¢.
(After Jimmy Giuffre)

Three Steps Down (tenor sax)

What is your 5-year plan? In the last 2 years, I have found I'm so far away from where I want to be. In trying to climb up my own ladder of success, I have found myself taking three steps down.
(After Ken Vandermark & John Zorn)

Cogitation (alto sax, bassoon, bass clarinet, singing bowl)

Sometimes one must look within for answers. This is a meditation on life, past and present.
(After Pharoah Sanders & John Zorn)

Head Bobbin' (soprano, tenor saxes, bass clarinet)

Sometimes things go your way, and you get into a good groove.

38 (soprano Sax, Chinese ball chimes)

In Taiwanese slang, 38 means "silly girl." March 8th (3/8) is also "girl day" in Asia. This is about meeting my friend (Chen Yi-Chun) who is, incidentally, 38.

Malevolence (flute)

My ex-girlfriend liked to demonstrate her independence by purposefully doing something perverse, simply to prove her point.
(After Eric Dolphy)

Neptune (tenor sax, sleigh bells)

My friend Yi-Chun says she's from Neptune. I guess she's related to Sun Ra! This is about sharing a pursuit of creating art.
(After John Coltrane)

Amblin' (bassoon)

Riding my motorcycle and hiking in the mountains near San Mateo is my mode of escape.
(After Charles Mingus)

Less (soprano sax)

At the end of a long time love affair, you might find your soul smaller.
(After Julius Hemphill)

Early Exit (soprano, alto & tenor saxes, flute, bass clarinet, bassoon, singing bowl, tambourine, Chinese cymbals, hooves shaker, nutshell shaker,sleigh bells, Agogo bells)

This piece is an extended tone poem about the day a friend of mine died at work. Jos Claerbout (June 14, 1974 - August 20, 1999) was only 25 years old when he left us. The poem begins with my waking up and going to work as on any other day, then seeing paramedics carrying out my friend who had died suddenly of heart failure. Jos had arrived early to work, and was found in his cubicle soon thereafter slumped over at his computer terminal. There was absolutely no indication that anything was wrong. He was in great health, had no vices, rode his bike to work, and was a vegetarian. It was a long day of confusion and reflection, and, afterward, an evening spent alone waiting for my girlfriend to come home.
(After Albert Ayler & Tim Berne)


The multi-instrumentalist Michael Cooke has a unique, aggressive jazz style. This Louis Armstrong Jazz Award winner mainly plays tenor, but you will also hear him play soprano sax, alto sax, flute, bass clarinet, bassoon and percussion. Michael started playing jazz in High school where he played for homeless shelters in Atlanta. A cum laude music graduate University of North Texas, Michael has played in Europe, Mexico and all over the United States. Relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area, he is striving to develop his style and has recently started studying Larry Ochs "Radar" composition techniques. Denise Berardini of the San Francisco Beacon describes Michael's -talented sax flowing out color and tone with such feeling I havent heard in quite a while. Michael plays with such dimension and flavor, that it sets (his) sound apart from the rest." Uncompromising, fiery, complex, passionate, and cathartic is how the All Music Guide labeled Michael's playing on "Searching" by Cooke Quartet and "Statements" by Michael Cooke. In 1999 Michael released his first CD with Black Hat Records entitled "Searching" which has been described as fresh, innovative jazz. This quartet release featured, Mel Nelson on piano, Alec Lytle on bass and Sameer Gupta on Drums, plus a host of percussionist.

Reviews of Michael Cooke's "Statements"

Frank Rubolino -Cadence Magazine, Vol. 28 No. 8, August 2002
"His infusion of multiple layers of instrumentation and sonic variations keeps the music challenging while providing all the ingredients for a diversified and well-rounded expedition."

James D. Armstrong, Jr - Jazz Now October 2002 Volume 12, Number 6
"In twelve finely honed compositions, the absence of strongly defined diatonic chord sequences yields improvisations of tremendous space and depth. Cooke's rare ability to think 'outside the box' reminds us that Jazz, in its best incarnation, is the sound of surprise."

Ted Kane - jazzreview.com, September 23, 2002
"Michael Cooke definitely has a lot to say and the multifarious talents to make you listen. If this CD doesn't get your attention, you are probably deaf."

Ray Redmond - Jazz USA Vol 06 - Issue 9 - September 2002
"This is a very interesting CD.....The CD launches a well thought out interface that lets you wander through interviews, poetry and artwork for the alternate (there are 3), review links, artist and instrument info... there's a lot of stuff here."

Larry Ochs - Saxophonist and composer with ROVA Quartet:
"I thought it was great man! I was really surprised; there were lots of surprising things in it, which is great!"

For complete reviews go to: http://www.blackhatrecords.com/statementsLE/reviews.html



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