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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

CD Review: Shane Cooper - Oscillations.

Shane Cooper (Bass); Bokani  Dyer (Keys); Reza Khota (Guitar); Kesivan Naidoo (Drums); Justin Bellairs (Alto); Buddy Wells (Tenor).
(Review by Steve H.)
One of the greatest gigs I ever attended was in the early 80's at the 100 Club in Oxford Street when the cream of exiled South African Jazz musicians, led on this night by Johnny Dyani and his band Witchdoctor’s Son, had the entire club on their feet dancing around the tables. Sadly much of that group  Chris McGregor on Piano, Dudu Pukwana on Saxophone and Dyani himself on bass are no longer with us all passing away far too young. We are lucky that legends from that era are still performing such as  Louis Moholo the drummer from Witchdoctor’s Son and the more internationally renowned Hugh Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim to name but three.
Shane Cooper is a highly accomplished young South African bass player arranger and composer so I was really looking forward to hearing the new South African Jazz.
The album kicks of with Broken Blues which begins as if were part of the soundtrack for a Star Trek movie but soon makes it’s mark with some fine sax solos and a lively piano solo by Dyer.  Destination Unknown is a muscular number  led by the Alto player  Bellairs containing quotes from A Love Supreme Dead Letters is as the title suggests a rather morbid piece heavily influenced by Jaco Pastorious one would imagine.  The next three numbers  Shadowplay, The Herdsman and Drop Down/Deconstruct   are Jazz Rock pieces much in the Weather Report vein. Oriah is a post Bebop offering and Big Sky is a quite a mournful ballad. The title piece Oscillations is a meandering complex piece with lots of interesting time changes. The album concludes with a  reprise  Dead Letters which showcase’s Cooper’s admirable Double Bass skills.
All the players on this album are extremely gifted  and the rhythm section really drives the sound. Cooper’s compositions are top notch but this album owes more to the Jazz fusion world then it does to the legacy of the great South African bands of the exiled apartheid era.
As a postscript to the aforementioned gig one of the lads out with us that night noticed that Witchdoctor’s Son were playing the 100 Club again a couple of weeks later but instead of telling his mates who had accompanied him to the initial gig he used it as an opportunity to impress a young lady. When we found out we were furious especially as he said the second gig was just as good  as the first one. I would like to say he got happily married to the person in question but the relationship didn't last much longer and 30 years later I am still bearing a grudge!
Shane Cooper's Oscillation is currently available from Home Grown Records.

Steve H.

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