Billy Harper, Cecil McBee, George Cables, Eddie Henderson, and Billy Hart all came up in the heady era of the mid ‘60s. It was a period that found the dimensions of hard bop morphing from their original designs, and each of these guys helped facilitate the process as members of some of the most important bands of the era. Hart and Henderson were members of Herbie Hancock’s groundbreaking Mwandishi group; Cecil McBee anchored Charles Lloyd’s great ’60s quartet alongside Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette; Billy Harper was part of Lee Morgan’s last group, as well as being a member of Max Roach’s Quartet and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers; while George Cables held down the piano chair in numerous bands including groups led by Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Dexter Gordon and Art Pepper.
David Weiss and Donald Harrison, from a more recent generation and the youngest members of the band, are experts in this forthright lingo, having gained experience performing with Art Blakey, Bobby Hutcherson, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Tolliver, Roy Haynes and Herbie Hancock.
Each member of the Cookers has spent time leading his own series of groups as well, and each has a keenly individual sound. But it’s the unmistakable power of teamwork that makes this music so commanding and resonates with a kind of depth and beauty that speaks of the seasoned track record of its principals (combined, the group has over 250 years of experience in the jazz world and has been a part of over 1,000 recordings). You can feel the collective weight of that experience in their CDs and especially in their live performances. Since this version of the band was solidified in 2007 the group has performed at venues around the world, including headlining the Newport Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Playboy Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival and many others.
After ten years together, The Cookers, who “embody the serious-as-death commitment that it took to thrive on the New York scene some four decades ago” (Andrew Gilbert, The Boston Globe), recently released their fifth album, The Call of the Wild and Peaceful Heart, the follow up album to their four critically-acclaimed recordings, Warriors, Cast The First Stone, Believe and Time and Time Again. On The Call of the Wild and Peaceful Heart again the incredibly high level of musicianship has only increased with the latest offering of fresh, challenging, boundary-pushing music from these legendary, revered, veteran improvisers.