Triptych Myth: The Beautiful (2005)
Cooper-Moore is his own man, and in a perfect world, more listeners would revere him. Best known for his association with William Parker's groups, Cooper-Moore is capable of creating music with whatever tools and means he has available at the time. Whether playing homemade original instruments such as the xylophone-like ashimba or more conventional ones like flute and piano, he is always involved in the creative process, improvising daily life into concise musical statements.
The first of a series of three planned AUM Fidelity albums by Triptych Mytha trio comprised of Cooper-Moore on piano, Tom Abbs on acoustic bass, and Chad Taylor on drumsoffers another beautiful insight into Cooper-Moore's world of musical expression. Building on the success of their earlier work, The Beautiful is a deeply affecting album of piano-driven interplay that seamlessly spans a range of jazz genres without a hint of trepidation or a false step.
Cooper-Moore remembers discovering Ahmad Jamal and the power of Charles Mingus when he was twelve, and then later on discovering more free jazz players. The music here reflects his many reference points, but in a wholly original manner replete with post bop timing and runs, nuanced melodies, and free playing that is tethered to the song's framework, rather than consisting of simple exploratory blowing till something occurs.
Disposing of these labels throughout, Triptych Myth utilizes its entire musical palette. The bounce of "Papa's Gin In The Chicken Feed illustrates how the musicians achieve this and simply play. Built on an undulating figure played by Cooper-Moore, the song is reminiscent of the feel of a sparse Don Pullen trio recording. Cooper-Moore embellishes the melody liberally while still maintaining the flow, eventually subsiding behind Taylor as he takes the fore with a solo that floats above the stated time. Taylor, who has already accumulated a vast body of work through recordings with Fred Anderson and various Chicago Underground configurations, displays the growing prowess of a musician coming into his own.
Triptych Myth is really impressive and surprising when it comes to the more ballad-oriented pieces on the album. Parker describes "Robina Pseudoacacia as "the most perfect peace of music I have ever heard ; Cooper-Moore's solo piano performance seemingly plucks single notes from the silence and thoughtfully pieces them together to form a whole. "Frida K. The Beautiful, dedicated to Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, "Pooch (for Wilber Morris), and other tracks warrant similar admiration.
Triptych Myth, driven by Cooper-Moore, has produced an album that will surely find its way on to many year-end lists. All critical recognition aside, Parker notes that this is a recording of the utmost beauty that deserves daily listening. Receptors and communicators, Cooper-Moore, Abbs, and Taylor have found ways to break away from established structures and patterns to create a work of boldness and beauty.
Track Listing: All Up In It; Frida K. The Beautiful; Trident; Spiraling Out; Pooch (for Wilber Morris); A Time To; Last Minute Trip Part One; Last Minute Trip Part Two; Poppa's Gin in the Chicken Feed; Robinia Pseudoacacia.
Personnel: Cooper-Moore: piano; Tom Abbs: bass; Chad Taylor: drums.