My first contact with Craig T. Cooper's music was his song Coast to
Coast from his album Got That Thang (1990). One of my
top-five songs of a huge smooth jazz collection. Infected by his music
I became an avid collector of his compositions on his albums Craig T.
Copper Project (1989), Darkm'n (1993), Touch Tone
(1995), A Romantic Letter (1996), Caught Up In A Moment
(1999), Hour Glas (2006) and his side project with Denise
Stewart Decide On Me (2001). She took part in his musical
success as the female singer on many of his albums.
As a sideman he worked with a legion of musicians. I recommend to read
the credits on his website. After a long hiatus Craig is back with a
new album entitled Nasty Man (2011). The album is a ballanced
piece of music with some covers but much more self-composed and
Craig got some support by musicians like Jaman Laws
(tenor sax), the son of legendary saxophonist Ronnie Laws, Deborah
Rivers and Denise Stewart (background vocals), veteran bassist Sekou
Bunch, who played with the who-is-who of pop and jazz,
world-class drummer Ndugu Chancler, "the virtuous man" Kevin Toney on
piano and organ, Mr. "Basic Instinct" Del Atkins on upright bass,
percussion player Victor Orlando (GAP Band, Billy Preston, Chaka Khan)
and rap singer Bojangles.
I'm A Nasty Man ( I Wanna Play 4U) is Cooper's credo. Using a
Talk Box and a Fender Stratocaster he revives a funky time. A Talk Box
is a device that produces the classic "talking guitar sound",
vowel-like sounds, as well as consonants, words and/or phrases.
Blowin' Bubbles presents tenor saxophonist Jaman Laws in an
intimate duet with guitar player Cooper following an airy theme in
various vibrations. Cooper extensively uses the wah wah effect of his
Epiphone Joe Pass. Cooper's signature sound is listenable on
Special Night, this typical mixture of vibraphone clatter and his
supreme swaying Gibson 335 performance.
We create happiness through the expression of our love.
I Feel In Love With You is Graig's personal musical manifestation
of these feelings. The contemplative Baby Oil features pianist
Aya Iwata. Born in Japan she is now one of the best keyboard players
in Los Angeles and performs her instrument with great elegance. On
Maybe Tomorrow Craig features his Roque Sitar. There are a ton of
Motown tunes highlighting electric sitars in the sixties and seventies
and he certainly conjures the sound of the Spinners and the Stylistics
with this song.
Billy Page's The In Crowd is a popular jazz classic, often
adapted in the smooth jazz genre by The Ramsey Lewis Trio, Jeff
Lorber, Jeff Golub, Gerald Veasley and now by Craig T. Cooper. His
approach is very amenable for the improvisations, this piece suggests.
Nourished by a groovy dance rhythm Role Play features the art
of sax by Ronnie Laws and soulful licks by veteran guitarist Cooper.
Ticklish, touchy, oversensitive. A self-contained music piece.
What Ever Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas offers more stuff
for chilling out. Cooper forms the tune in several layers. I'm Just
Being Me. Take Craig's explanation seriously. His guitar riffs on
Gibson 335 are classic. Sekou Bunch adds his signature bass rumbling.
I'm Hooked On You is Craig's return to his roots with all its
ingredients. A groove in the spirit of Marvin Gayes' Sexual Healing.
Another guitar, another sound. When You Smile features his
Yamaha AEX-500N, a nylon string guitar with a rich tone. This song
lets you really smile. On the final tune Wow! Craig is playing
with the AutoTune effect introducing rap singer Bojangles.
Nasty Man offers the wide range of guitarist Craig T. Coopers
musical prowess. From deep down funk to the typical Darkm'n sound you
find it all on this album.