The songs on Triptych Myth’s The Beautiful (Aum Fidelity) play out like a series of cinematic scenes. The jazz trio, led by Cooper-Moore on piano with Tom Abbs on bass and Chad Taylor on drums, starts the record in a traditional manner—the piano and drums chatter back and forth a few measures before the bass enters and the whole group locks into a groove. But they soon abandon the standard jazz format to follow a curve more like the crescendo of a dramatic tale. The romantic piano motif of “Pooch (For Wilber Morris)” conjures images of a ballerina stepping across a room, while the odd contrast of the frenetic drumming keeps the track from becoming sentimental. The slow, creeping rhythm of “Last Minute Trip Part One” could be the soundtrack for a caravan’s slow march in a long-forgotten desert epic.
Cooper-Moore has been involved in the creative music scene for over thirty years, although he has often been overshadowed by collaborators such as David S. Ware. After a frustrating European tour in 1981, he destroyed his piano with a sledgehammer and a match. He redirected his energy first towards childhood music education and then to performing on a collection of hand-built instruments. In the early 1990s, Cooper-Moore returned to the piano as a member of William Parker’s group In Order to Survive. With the Triptych Myth, he has assembled his first working jazz group in decades.
Cooper-Moore has perhaps been inspired by the time he spent scoring theater and dance productions. The Beautiful, however, is undoubtedly a jazz album. Cooper-Moore crafts a haunting ballad on “Frida K. The Beautiful.” Chad Taylor fires the upbeat “Poppa’s Gin in the Chicken Feed” with a funky intensity. The album ends with Cooper-Moore tapping out single notes—a peaceful coda to the frenzy of creativity that came before. The final notes hover in the air unresolved, waiting to be fulfilled by Triptych Myth’s next recording.
Also posted at A Frolic of My Own.
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