Cooke Quartet | Searching

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United States - California - SF

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Jazz: World Fusion Jazz: Free Jazz Moods: Type: Improvisational
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by Cooke Quartet

CQ's approach to acoustic modern Jazz is rooted in 60's and 70's modal style. This style allows for a freedom of emotional expression. With solid grooves and explosions of energy and sound, CQ's Jazz reminds one of music by Pharaoh Sanders & McCoy Tyner.
Genre: Jazz: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Malcontent
6:49 $0.99
2. Goddess
9:05 $0.99
3. Nikita
6:36 $0.99
4. Searching
6:28 $0.99
5. Footprints
7:58 $0.99
6. Coalescing
4:19 $0.99
7. Lonely Woman
5:11 $0.99
8. The Source
8:58 $0.99
9. Reflection
2:21 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
CQ's approach to acoustic modern Jazz is rooted in 60's and 70's modal style. This style allows for a freedom of emotional expression. With solid grooves and explosions of energy and sound, CQ's Jazz reminds one of the music being played in Oakland and San Francisco in the 70's by Pharaoh Sanders and McCoy Tyner.
Time to meet the band. The multi-instrumentalist Michael Cooke heads up the group, with his aggressive tenor saxophone style. This Louis Armstrong Jazz award winner mainly plays tenor, but you will also hear him play soprano sax, alto sax, flute, and bass clarinet. Michael started playing Jazz in High school where he played for homeless shelters in Atlanta. He studied Jazz with Tony Carere, Ellis Marsalis, Hal Galper, Dan Haerle and Jim Riggs. A cum laude music graduate of North Texas State University, Michael has played in Europe, Mexico and all over the United States. Recently relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area, he is striving to develop his style in the direction of the early 70's Jazz music that used to be played in the area. 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." Michael is "excited to be playing with such talented musicians", as they work to revive and develop a San Francisco Bay Area Jazz sound.
Pianist Mel Nelson, brings experience to the band. Having played, composed and arranged music professionally for over 15 years in L.A. and Washington DC, Mel solidifies the bands sound. He is a multi-instrumentalist playing bass, piano, flute and sax, but is now just focusing on piano. Mel has toured to world as a bass player with major jazz and pop acts. This experience helps him to always be able to add the right accompaniment or a burning solo. Mel has developed a unique heart felt sound, full of fire and grace. This sound has influenced the directions CQ has taken.
Alec Lytle's upright bass playing has a classic big sound with a modern style. He and Michael have played together for a few years, which helps this new group have a seasoned sound. Alec has played with Marcus Roberts in San Luis Obispo and studied with many other notable Jazz performers. He has also performed all over the United Kingdom with touring groups while living in London and spent time in L.A. and Las Vegas but has returned to the Bay area to work on his musical directions. Alec was a member of the Absolute Quintet and the Pete Chen Trio before becoming a full time member of CQ.
Beneath it all is young sensation Sameer Gupta on drums. This 22-year-old firecracker provides the energy for the group. A SF Bay area native, Sameer has been playing for 10 years and is a recent music graduate of Santa Clara University. Sameer started his musical studies in Japan and continued local studies with Wally Schnalle and Kevin Carnes. Traveling around the world allowed Sameer to learn many instruments in addition to set drums including vibes, World percussion, guitar, keyboards, and Classical percussion. A versatile player and composer Sameer's knowledge of Jazz, Classical, and World Music has helped to shape CQ's sound.
CQ sometimes rounds off the group with a percussionist to provide that extra sounds they hear. Musicians Paul Fisher and Roland Robles have performed with CQ in this way.



to write a review

Lee Prosser

High energy, emotional, lively, and enjoyable. Excellent music.
: For listeners of contemporary jazz, they are in for a nice treat when they put on "Searching," a compact treat of original music which includes songs such as "Malcontent," "Goddess" (written by Sameer Gupta), "Nikita," "Searching," "Footprints," "Coalescing," "Lonely Woman," "The Source," and "Reflection" (written by Michael Cooke). The total playing time for the CD is 57:50.

Mel Nelson reveals his wonderful playing techniques as a jazz pianist in different ways on each selection he performs. Nelson is a fine pianist, and if you have not heard him play piano before, this CD is an excellent introduction to his style.

Michael Cooke has a fresh and original saxophone voice, and he is equally at ease blending in or on solo, his pleasure with harmonic lines is openly shared with the listener in a mellow jazz idiom, allowing the listener to savor the notes being played. In fact, this Cooke Quartet is outstanding in numerous ways.

"Searching" is fresh, innovative contemporary jazz from the Cooke Quartet. It is something to be played often and savored. Excellent music. If you have a friend that would like an introduction to contemporary jazz, suggest this CD to him or her, or better yet, purchase it and give it as a gift! High energy, emotional, lively, and enjoyable is what this CD "Searching" is all about!


Lawrence Brazier

Jazz for the reflective soul, and that goes for the up-tempo pieces, too.
And search they do. This is an achieved coupling of rhythm and exploration in which the percussionists are given a great deal of work in laying the ground for the flights taken by multi-instrumentalist Michael Cooke. This is Jazz for the serious listener. Jazz for the reflective soul, and that goes for the up-tempo pieces, too. What is constantly a revelation is the sheer number of really great, and generally little known musicians who are capable of such a high- quality performance. We sometimes hear the established names of Jazz producing music less accomplished than what we have here. A real pity, we feel. Sameer Gupa’s "The Source" has an inner beauty, a special quality, that permeates the air around you. This CD is for people who listen to a lot of Jazz, for people who listen daily and often hours at a time. Recommended for people who are already working their CD players with their first cup of coffee.