Drummer Tom Cohen mixes old with new in
his fourth release, Joyride (2016).
Accompanying Cohen are Benito Gonzales, piano; Kris Funn,
bass; Mike Boone, bass; and on selected tracks, Tom Ries,
tenor and soprano saxophones.
After a brief
introduction titled, “Desi/Lucy,” Cohen and the gang get
busy with Wayne Shorter’s “Black Nile.” Gonzalez leads, with
Cohen and Funn jamming it up in the background. It’s a
high-energy, finger-snapping song. The piano rolls on a
frenetic pace. At the midway point, the piano brings it way
down, as the bass comes forward. After Funn’s solo, Cohen
cranks up the heat, showing his dexterity in a back and
forth with the others. The trio plays a sequence, then Cohen
stretches out on his own. They do this several times before
reverting to the theme.
Ries joins the trio for a
song he composed, “What Will We Tell Our Children.” With the
soprano sax, Ries leads the ensemble on a passionate,
dramatic story. Use your imagination as to which of the
myriad possible scenarios in which an adult may feel sad or
embarrassed about a given situation. After the piano solo,
Ries returns. The music softens toward the end, indicating
optimism that we’ll get through this and solve the problem.
Boone handles bass duties on this track.
covers compositions by Herbie Hancock, Bronislaw Kaper and
others. The ensemble freshens up such classics as “Dolphin
Dance,” “On Green Dolphin Street” and “Old Folks.”
Scattered throughout the set are short pieces written by
Cohen is a fixture on the Philadelphia music
scene, where he’s spent more than 40 years. He has been
associated with an assortment of luminaries, including Donny
McCaslin, Ernie Watts, Ralph Bowen, Charles Fambrough and
Pete McCann, among many others. The title, Joyride,
reflects Cohen’s sense of musical freedom with anticipation
of the unexpected.