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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Delmark DE 457



1. Nutville
2. Mallethead
3. Mija
4. Bemsha Swing
5. Cantor Da Noite
6. Sui Fumi
7. Autumn Nocturne
8. Cabbie Patch
9. Tanga

Jim Cooper - Vibes
Ira Sullivan - Trumpet, tenor sax, soprano sax
Bob Dogan - Piano
Dan Delorenzo - Bass
Charlie Braugham - Drums
Alejo Poveda - Percussion


The cover says "Ira Sullivan presents Jim Cooper" and Ira Sullivan is a notable element of this CD. Recorded in 1991, when it was originally released, this reissued album features vibist Jim Cooper with strong contributions from Ira Sullivan. Ira, like Benny Carter, is one of those rare musicians who plays the trumpet as well as the saxophone.

As for Jim Cooper, he follows in Red Norvo's footsteps by often using the vibraphone without pressing the sustain pedal. Indeed, in parts of the opening title-track, his instrument sounds more like a marimba than the vibes. This track has a strong Latin-American pulse and excellent trumpet from Ira Sullivan.

Jim Cooper seems to have an affinity with the work of Thelonious Monk, as the CD not only includes a Monk composition (Bemsha Swing) but Cooper's original Mallethead has a disjointed sensation typical of Thelonious. A rhythmically complex piano solo from Bob Dogan is a highlight of his own composition, Mija. Bemsha Swing illustrates Cooper's feeling for Thelonious Monk (with the vibes accompanied simply by bass and drums). On Ivan Lins's ballad Cantor Da Noite, Jim uses the sustaining power of the vibes to match the placid mood.

Bob Dogan's Sui Fumi has some intriguingly complicated rhythms, with strange echoes of the Beatles' Lady Madonna. Ira Sullivan exhibits his abilities with soprano and tenor saxes on the ballad Autumn Nocturne. Jim Cooper's solo in the middle gets him close to the style of Milt Jackson. Dogan's Cabbie Patch opens with him playing humorous stride piano, leading into a blues outing for vibes, tenor and piano. Dan Delorenzo's walking bass shines through on this track. The closing Tanga returns us to Latin Americana, with Sullivan subtle and then scintillating on trumpet, and Alejo Poveda's percussion making an impact.

There is nothing particularly special about this album (beyond communicating how talented Sullivan and Cooper are) but it makes very pleasant and often stimulating listening.

Tony Augarde

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