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Bruce Cox Core-Tet: Status Cymbals (2012)

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Bruce Cox Core-Tet: Status Cymbals How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Drummer Bruce Cox may not be a household name in the jazz world, but he's studied, played and/or recorded with plenty of people who are. The Philadelphia-born stick-wielder gleaned plenty of wisdom through his lessons with drumming icons Philly Joe Jones
Philly Joe Jones
Philly Joe Jones
1923 - 1985
drums
and Alan Dawson
Alan Dawson
Alan Dawson
1929 - 1996
drums
, and he's put that knowledge to good use by backing the greats over the past several decades. Cox has been the rhythmic force behind a plethora of high profile players, including Saturnine piano madman Sun Ra
Sun Ra
Sun Ra
1914 - 1993
keyboard
, saxophone icon Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
, vocal great Jon Hendricks
Jon Hendricks
Jon Hendricks
b.1921
vocalist
, and a trio of James Brown
James Brown
James Brown
1933 - 2006
vocalist
-associated horn men—Fred Wesley
Fred Wesley
Fred Wesley
b.1943
trombone
, Pee Wee Ellis
Pee Wee Ellis
Pee Wee Ellis
b.1941
saxophone
and Maceo Parker
Maceo Parker
Maceo Parker
b.1943
saxophone
. With a resume like that, it's hard to imagine why Cox isn't better known, but the answer connects to the very reason why he's earned and held the coveted drum chairs in so many killer bands over the years: Cox's first priority is the music and self-serving agendas aren't his thing. All of this rings true throughout Status Cymbals.

Cox concocted a varied twelve song program that demonstrates his ample skills without putting himself on a pedestal; he simply does what he does best by laying down the rhythmic law behind his simpatico Core-Tet mates. Saxophonist Abraham Burton
Abraham Burton
Abraham Burton

sax, alto
fronts the band and proves to be highly adaptable throughout. He can swoon, swoop, singe or soar, depending on what the song requires. Pianist Aruan Ortiz
Aruan Ortiz
Aruan Ortiz
b.1973
piano
is the utility man, able to solo, comp and fill in the gaps wherever they may be. Bassist Gianluca Renzi
Gianluca Renzi
Gianluca Renzi
b.1975
bass, acoustic
is the final part of the equation and he carries the music forward, providing direction and ballast. While he's a bit too low in the mix on occasion, he always manages to get the job done.

Status Cymbals gives Cox an opportunity to showcase his original material, while also including a few choice covers. His writing reflects his experiences in different musical circles and simultaneously paints him as one within the tradition and one who pushes boundaries to extend the very definition of the tradition. Groove morphing music ("Burno"), spiritually fervent, yet understated fare ("Good Air"), eerie endeavors ("Dark Matter"), waltz-based numbers ("Robbie-Jean") and odd-metered funk ("Demi") are all part of the package. Cox doesn't put himself first very often, but "Les Rayons" is the perfect example of why he should. This Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
1927 - 2004
drums
-esque solo drum number ("Les Rayons") gives him an opportunity to solo in and around a waltzing groove that proves to be an album highlight.

The covers help to round out the program and give a fuller picture of Cox's talents. Saxophonist Benny Golson
Benny Golson
Benny Golson
b.1929
sax, tenor
's "Whisper Not" is delivered in straightforward and pleasing fashion, while "Darn That Dream" is pretty as can be, and Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
's "Evidence" gives Cox an opportunity to liberally mix Latin elements and African ideals into his playing. A funky rewrite of saxophonist Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
's "Night Dreamer" caps things off and proves to be a fine ending to a recording with plenty to offer.


Track Listing: Burno; Good Air; Whisper Not; Dark Matter; Darn That Dream; Funky State Of Mind; Rafaelle; Evidence; Robbie-Jean; Les Rayons; Demi; Night Dreamer.

Personnel: Bruce Cox: drums; Gianluca Renzi: bass; Aruan Ortiz: piano; Abraham Burton: saxophone.

Record Label: Self Produced


Featured recording “Status Cymbals”

Status Cymbals

Self Produced (2012)
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