His resume is an imposing one, marked by gigs with Sonny Fortune, Jack Walrath, Eddie Gomez, Clark Terry, Michael Brecker, Chip White, the Spirit of Life Ensemble, Nancy Monroe, and many more. Add to that beneficial training from the likes of Jaki Byard, Eleanor Hancock and the legendary Madame Chaloff. This gives you just a simple point of reference for approaching the work of pianist Michael Cochrane, whose debut SteepleChase set, The Cutting Edge
is just now getting an American release.
While not without its moments of collective risk-taking, this set falls into the category of conservative mainstream fare that SteepleChase is known for and in Cochrane they have a solid pianist who has learned his lessons well. He certainly knows how to pace a set, the ten selections including some top-drawer standards and four of his own well-developed lines.
Cochrane, bassist Ron McClure, and drummer Yoron Israel go it as a trio for Bud Powell’s “Celia” and “I Thought About You,” while the rest of the date features the lead voice of alto saxophonist David Gross. A new name to this reviewer, Gross speaks volumes with a tart yet seductive tone that puts him in the same league with fellow alto man Jon Gordon. In the final analysis, everything sits just right with The Cutting Edge, even if doesn’t quite live up to the implications of its title.
Personnel: Michael Cochrane- piano, David Gross- alto saxophone, Ron McClure- bass, Yoron Israel- drums