Tiny Reviews: The Cookers, Sing Sing Penelope, Passarim & Caito Marcondes, Troyka, & Benjamin Schaefer Trio

Tiny Reviews, featuring:  The Cookers Believe, Sing Sing Penelope This Is the Music Vol. 1, Benjamin Schaefer Trio Leaves Like Snow, Passarim & Caito Marcondes Festanca, and Troyka Moxxy.



The Cookers – Believe

Pretty accurate to call this a jazz supergroup.  All the members of this ensemble have been a vital part of the jazz landscape for decades, and based on their collaborative album Believe, that ain’t gonna change anytime in the near future.

Their third album as the Cookers ensemble, and it has all the pure jazz buoyancy, swing, and musicianship that symbolize so much of what is great about Jazz.

Your album personnel:  Billy Harper (tenor sax), Eddie Henderson (trumpet), David Weiss (trumpet), Craig Handy (alto sax), George Cables (piano), Cecil McBee (bass), and Billy Hart (drums).

The album consists of compositions culled from the songbooks of the ensemble members (with the exception of Wayne Shorter’s “Free For All”), and signifies the ensemble’s attitude toward a group effort.  This a group that plays as one, doesn’t step on each others toes, no displays of greed for the spotlight.

Though the various members of the group made their marks on different points of the jazz timeline, this is music that should appeal to all of us who never can get enough of that joyful hard bop of the 60s.  A modern bop throwback to the sound of saxes and horns raised up to the skies, piano that slices across clouds like birds, bass that gurgles cheerfully like the streams below, and drums that tremble and scatter like fresh earth.

Released on the Motema Records label.

Download a free album track at AllAboutJazz, courtesy of the artists and label.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: CD | MP3


Other Albums of Note:


Sing Sing Penelope – This Is the Music Vol. 1

Avant-garde with some nice drone, post-rock, and world jazz flavors.  A heavy infusion of woodwinds and brass instruments, buffered by electronics and tabla.  Sing Sing Penelope is difficult to classify, easy to like.  Yet more evidence of the thriving jazz scene coming out of Poland.  Really a very cool album.

Your album personnel:  Wojciech Jachna (trumpet), Aleksander Kamiński (soprano sax), Tomasz Glazik (tenor sax, bass clarinet), Daniel Mackiewicz (rhodes, tabla, percussion), Patryk Węcławek (bass), and Rafał Gorzycki (drums)

You can stream an album song at the ensemble’s site.

The album is Self-Produced.  Available at eMusic.


Benjamin Schaefer Trio – Leaves Like Snow

Nice little piano session from this German trio.  No fireworks, just sure and steady.  Two feet in modern jazz piano trio sound, minus the electronics and effects.  Melodies that lead to introspection, rhythms a gentle patter and shuffle.  After a spin at expanding the trio into a septet, they’re back to a trio.

Your album personnel:  Benjamin Schaefer (piano), Robert Landfermann (double bass), and Marcus Rieck (drums).

Released on the Double Moon Records label.  Available at eMusic.


Passarim & Caito Marcondes – Festanca

Fascinating mix of percussion, trombone, and string quartet.  Latin, gypsy swing, world avant-garde and more.  Its difficulty to classify is counteracted by its listenability and all around joyfulness.  Great example of the ensemble’s whimsical experimentalism and accessibility is its rendition of “Over the Rainbow.”  Beautiful recording.

Your album personnel:  Caito Marcondes (percussion), Sebastien Semal (trombone), Michel Pieters (violin), Pierre Heneaux (violin), Laurence Genevois (viola), and Caroline Stevens (cello).

Released on the Home Records label.  Available at eMusic.


Troyka – Moxxy

Rock-jazz fusion album from a trio of solid UK jazz musicians.  Rocks more than it grooves, but does plenty of both.  Lots of tinkering with melodies, music as science experiment.  Could’ve just as easily been filed under post-rock.  Troyka provides plenty of music hear to keep the ear interested.  Cool version of song “Chaplin,” a Montague composition, which he also performs as part of the Threads Orchestra.

Your album personnel:  Chris Montague (guitars and loops), Kit Downes (organ) and Joshua Blackmore (drums).

Released on the Edition Records label.  Available at eMusic.



The Cookers review is original to Bird is the Worm.  However, a portions of the other reviews were originally used in my Jazz Picks weekly article for eMusic, so here’s some language protecting their rights to that reprinted material as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…

“New Arrivals Jazz Picks,“ and “New Arrivals Jazz Picks,” reprints courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2012  eMusic.com, Inc.

As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic for the gig.  Cheers.