[25 January 2011]
Do you ever wonder what it would sound like if the legends of the 1960s post-bop jazz era—Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Art Blakey, to name just a few—got together and recorded an album in 2010? Well, thanks to the jazz supergroup Warriors, you can have the next best thing. The group features seven of the greatest players around today, nearly all of whom learned their trade in the 1960s as sidemen to the likes of Davis, Coltrane and Blakey, as well as Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and countless others. Collectively, the members of Warriors—Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, David Weiss, George Cables, Cecil McBee, Billy Hart and Craig Handy—have appeared on over 1,000 albums and have more than 250 years of experience.
Not surprisingly, Warriors’ excellent new album, The Cookers, which takes its name from a 1965 Freddie Hubbard release, is heavy on straight-ahead 1960s post-bop. The tunes, most of which were composed by the group’s members, feature swinging rhythms, soulful solos and catchy melodies. Highlights include Harper’s bluesy romp “Priestess”, McBee’s stellar ballad “Close to You Alone” and Cables’ sultry “Sweet Rita Suite Part 2: Her Soul”, which features Handy’s exquisite flute playing. The production on The Cookers might not be as warm and inviting as the original 1960s Blue Note records that inspired it, but the playing is top-notch and gives you more than a taste of what of a jam session with Davis, Coltrane, Blakey and the other greats might just sound like today.