Time and Time Again

The Cookers (Motema)

If there was justice in the music world, this all-star jazz band would need no introduction: saxophonists Billy Harper (tenor) and Donald Harrison (alto), trumpeters Eddie Henderson and (leader) David Weiss, pianist George Cables, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Billy Hart. Hart’s CV alone would run this review over its allotted space. They play nine original compositions, all in a post-bop modern, yet not “outside” vein. “Sir Galahad” begins the album invoking the spirits before charging ahead, Harrison’s solo moving toward the edge. Cables’ “Double or Nothing” is good ol’ fashioned blues, while his “Farewell Mulgrew” has a Gospel feel, celebrating his late fellow pianist. Harper’s closing “Dance Eternal Spirits Dance” begins a capella, referencing “In a Sentimental Mood,” before jauntily exploding. It’s hard to imagine a better working ensemble in mainstream modern jazz than The Cookers.