Coat Cooke

Yet more reviews

Vancouver saxophonist Coat Cooke may be best known as the leader of the NOW Orchestra, a brilliant aggregation of 16 Vancouver improvisers that set a national standard for such ensembles. He’s heard on a very different scale on two new releases, each featuring a duo. Cooke’s free-jazz side comes through on Conversations with drummer Joe Poole (Now Orchestra CLNOW006 with Cooke working through the saxophone family in a series of dialogues ranging from the intensity of Feeling Feint to the puckishly vocal Dancing the Night Away, all of it enhanced by Poole’s subtly complex drumming. There’s a very different side of Cooke to be heard on the free improvisation of High Wire with Montreal guitarist Rainer Wiens (Now Orchestra CLNOW007). The emphasis is on texture and timbre, eerie whistling saxophone tones moving through layers of bowed and scratched guitar strings. There’s something uncannily involving about these fragile, evolving drones, a kind of tensile strength and focus that rewards sustained attention.

The Whole Note – Stuart Broomer