The Cookers Quintet are a Toronto-based jazz combo, with a sound firmly rooted in the ‘50s and ‘60s hard bop movement.
The Cookers core members each bring their own unique qualities to the band’s sound. Saxophonist Ryan Oliver’s fat, full tenor tone might bring to mind heavyweight Dexter Gordon, but it’s blended with sophistication and subtlety. Oliver shares the front line with Tim Hamel, a trumpet player that can bring a hot, uptempo number to a boil and then carry a ballad with lyricism and beauty minutes later. The rock solid foundation of all this is bassist Alex Coleman, who’s clearly grounded in the Ray Brown/Paul Chambers school of keeping the bass steady and swinging. Rounding out the group is pianist Richard Whiteman, a veteran of the Toronto music scene, and Vancouver native Morgan Childs on drums.
Born out of a weekly residency where the group cut their teeth on the classic, hard swinging music of Horace Silver, Art Blakey, and Hank Mobley, it didn’t take long before they were writing tunes of their own. “We wanted to have tunes that would be swinging, straight ahead, and arranged for a quintet. Essentially, fun tunes with great rhythms and memorable melodies that even non-jazz lovers would be attracted to,” says Coleman. Volume One collects those songs.
“The Ramble” pays homage to Horace Silver's “Swingin' the Samba” with its latin vibe.. “Obligatory Blues” is anything but, showcasing a Lee Morgan-esque boogie feel and a great tag-team lead line. With its lilting melody and ¾ time signature, “Crosstalk” feels like a lost outtake from Miles’s classic quintet. “Blues to Booker” is a slow swinging number dedicated to another source of inspiration, Booker Ervin.
With these compositions and a dedication to exciting, original and always swinging jazz, The Cookers Quintet hopes to bring more notice both to their own and other great Canadian music.