The Cookers – Cast The First Stone (2011)

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Whenever David Weiss is involved in a project, it’s worth sitting up and taking notice.

Same goes for Billy Hart. Or Eddie Henderson, Or Cecil McBee, Billy Harper or George Cables, for that matter.

But a project that involves all of these players demands your full attention. A lineup of luminaries like this one, appropriately called The Cookers, should be gracing the jazz listening public with records as much as possible, and after about four years with this personnel grouping, The Cookers finally did just that last fall for Jazz Legacy Productions (Warriors)and again only about six months later on April 12.

To their great credit, the supergroup didn’t fall back on overdone standards, covering only Harold Mabern’s “The Chief.”

The remaining six songs were contributed from band members themselves, half of those by Harper. McBee’s “Peacemaker” (amateur video above) and “Think On Me” by Harper are the highlights of a strong set. As these are a grouping of veteran players most of whom came of age in the mid 60s, this is old-school hard-bop jazz. Augmented on some tracks by yet more big names — alto saxophonist Craig Handy and tenor/soprano saxophonist Azar Lawrence — these accomplished musicians keep the flame going with deeds, not words.

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Cast The First Stone came to us courtesy of Plus Loin Music.

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