Cooper-Moore | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Cooper-Moore Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Sat., Nov. 1, 9:30 p.m. 2008

If you only know Cooper-Moore from his trio Triptych Myth or William Parker’s old quartet In Order to Survive, you might think this 62-year-old New Yorker is just a mighty fine jazz pianist. But you could entirely set aside his omnivorous keyboard style, which ranges from lyrical impressionism to rumbling expressionism to gospel-steeped meditation, and he’d still have a bag of tricks so full it’d take a deft hand not to spill it. On The Cedar Box Recordings (Aum Fidelity), a new reissue of a quintuple seven-inch set from 2004, Cooper-Moore is just as compelling playing homemade instruments in his living room or on the footbridge to Ward’s Island—favorites include the horizontal hoe-handle harp, a bassy one-string diddley bow, and an unfretted two-string lute he calls a twanger—as he is playing a Steinway in a French concert hall. But it’s the track with no instruments at all—“A Sunday Tale,” a salty spoken-word bit about high jinks at a country church—that ties it all together. Turns out he’s a storyteller at heart, with an instinct for picking irresistible details to draw you in. Tonight Cooper-Moore will perform Old and New Paths, a new program of music and stories developed with an eye toward portability; he’s touring by bus and train, playing only instruments he can carry or find. —Bill Meyer

Price: $15

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