First of all, someone give bassist Shane Cooper some kind of award for running Linsey Levendall's bizarrely classy surreal cartoonwerke as the cover for Oscillations. Finally!, someone who understands the first element of marketing: grab the eye!!! Ya want someone to pick your CD out of the rack? Well, Hezekiah, make 'em look at it! Kudos too to Dreamfuel; very nice layout, reeks of art with a capital 'A' and entirely clues the prospective buyer into a knowledge that they're contemplating getting just what they want: off the wall, strange, but well-made music that knows what the hell it's about. Cooper's quintet (with guest tenor saxist on 3 cuts) is intelligent, innovative, and polished to a fare thee well.
Powerhouse drummer Kesivan Nadoo - he of the Billy Cobham, Tony Williams, and Jack DeJohnette schools of skinspounders—provides a non-stop set of terra firmas for alto saxist Justin Bellairs to wail upon while keyboardist Bokani Dyer fleshes out the greenery and skies, guitarist Reza Khota dropping in narrative lines. Cooper's the most invisible member of the enclave, save that all songs here but one are his (and that one's co-written with Khota), and they're superb charts. Listen to the subtle timbral change-ups in Dead Letters, especially the drop-out piano solo section and then the ionospheric guitar section, as just one example.
Cooper favors a realm where trad jazz and mannered fusion meet and shake hands, then get down to business, merging to amalgamate a format that also incorporates the fringe of classical devices—the intro to Shadowplay for instance, taking on chamber sensibilities until Khota cuts in and the song launches into progrock, catching on fire. The Herdsman starts out World then jumps into Weather Report territory (makes sense when ya think about it), so it's not like these cats don't know their terrain. Don't throw on Oscillations when you're feeling Playboy Jazz Festy, wait until a Knitting Factory vibe wafts your way instead.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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