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Triptych Myth opens with a rockin' rhythmic attack, topped with a stunted, lurching melody that recalls Monk and Cecil Taylor more or less equally, yet carves out a little stylistic territory all its own. No mean feat. If Monk had ever made the leap to free improvisation, some of the piano sounds on this disc hint at what might've resulted. Even 'The Fox,' a basically straight ahead reggae piece, relentlessly continues this theme, imagining the great bop architect as a Caribbean club hack. That out of their system, the group returns to more stylistically original and engaging territory for the remainder of this noteworthy disc.
Triptych Myth is an interspersal of Cooper-Moore's compositions and, if I judge correctly, live improvisations, with an odd Tom Abbs tune not far from the middle. Cooper-Moore's pieces have a far-flung range of directions, some more promising than others. The aforementioned reggae piece, and 'Susan,' for instance, represent his flirtations with standard forms, and are not bad at all, but less striking than some of his more personal material (such as 'Stem Cell' and 'Spatter Matter,' another Monkesque romp, yet unlike anything recently heard).
Cooper-Moore, both as writer and pianist, offers a refreshing alternative to all those conventionally dazzling jazz pianists that keep coming out of the woodwork. He plays well, but deliberately avoids prettiness. Has anyone coined the term 'punk jazz' yet?
Abbs' 'Raising Knox' is another charismatic change of scenery. Cooper-Moore sits out while Abbs takes drummer Chad Taylor and the audience out to his neighborhood for an intermezzo. The trio sounds, whether the case or not, as if it's got some years under its collective belt. Let's hope to see them often live, and to hear them evolve on more recordings.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.