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 arranged songs.

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.





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Album Information

Title: Nasty Man
Artist: Craig T. Cooper
Year: 2011
Length: 1:08:25
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Craigland Records


01 I'm A Nasty Man ( I Wanna Play 4U) [2:59]
02 Blowin' Bubbles [5:39]
03 Special Night [5:52]
04 I Feel In Love With You [2:39]
05 Baby Oil [6:33]
06 Maybe Tomorrow [5:19]
07 The In Crowd [6:13]
08 Role Play [4:46]
09 Ticklish [5:12]
10 What Ever Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas [5:13]
11 I'm Just Being Me [5:12]
12 I'm Hooked On You [5:59]
13 When You Smile [4:09]
14 Wow! [2:39]

Further review:

Denise Stewart - Decide On Me