Pointing out that many cultures, other than American, consider accomplished drummers as valued soloists, Jerome Cooper has stated his goal to "improve the quality of American music" in this and other respects. He more than proves his case here with a captivating solo performance entitled "All That Is or Is That All the Music". Cooper employs not only the instruments of the conventional drum set (each of which he has given "psychic names" that describe and evoke their characters, eg. "OM" for the bass drum, "Julio" for the high-hat), but he also plays balaphones ("Repooc"), two types of the Mexican double reed instrument called the chiramia ("Slim" and "Big Mama"), a Yamaha synthesizer which supplies melodic and harmonic materials, and a Casio rhythm machine. This setup parallels the practice of other cultures in which drummers typically sing or play winds simultaneously with their drumming. Cooper's performance is a suite of contrasting moods, and concludes with an astonishing display of "multi-dimensional" polyrhythmic sensibilities.
In his interview, Cooper discusses the origins of and tensions within the highly influential Revolutionary Ensemble which he co-founded, his interest in sound qualities and the natural generation of rhythms, and his changing roles with collaborators such as respected moderns Cecil Taylor, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Oliver Lake, Lester Bowie, and Rashaad Roland Kirk.
The Hum-the music of multiple-dimensional drumming. Jerome Cooper's fruitful musical legacy with the Revolutionary Ensemble and stints with Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor, and other reads like a who in cutting-edge jazz. Nowadays Cooper's polyrhythmic drumming and multitasking persona are prime factors in his mesmerizing solos. Wonderful combinations of Indonesian Gamelan, West African timbres, jazz kit and garage band electronics surprise and merge in a satisfying post-everything style. Read his thing at mutablemusic.com/cooperinfo.htm.
Aired on rTV: 2000
Performance: May 11, 1996
Produced by Jim Staley
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