“Truth in the Abstract Blues shows that there is another side to the blues that has yet to be explored fully”
Bruce Lee Gallanter -Downtown Music Gallery NY.
Our latest album on vinyl from Ethbo Records
They basically played standards like “That’s Alright Mama,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Judgment Day” with a combination of backwards guitar, moaned vocals, a saxophone that squealed hunks of dripping blues, and a rhythm section that was as tight as any classic prog rock band but felt as loose as a stoned marsupial. Bellatalla’s bass playing in particular was one of the biggest revelations of the festival for me: his giant heavy bowed tones and the way he coaxed the darkest melodies using nothing but mid-range bowed harmonics absolutely floored me, every move extraordinary. He and Spera obviously have a long history because the drums clunked out a combination of funk and sprawl that made every movement feel both appropriate and transcendent, like tapping into the magic of the most common elements. The slower the arrival of the downbeat, the longer the setup, the sweeter the reward: that’s romance.
This band is Mike Cooper’s brainchild, and the singularity of his vision, playing and personality infuse their sound. He uses electronics, samples, pedals and traditional playing techniques in a combination that is so unique and yet so accessible that it makes the (supposed) modern problem of unifying all the disparate elements of oneself moot. When this set was over, I felt like I had just found an abandoned jug of whiskey from the 1920s, wriggled its fat dusty cork out, took a giant whiff of all that time with all its heady scents and then tilted the bottle back for a slow, deep slug.
[*The band’s name actually stems equally from Jimmy Giuffre’s quote “One foot in the abstract, one foot in the blues”, which is personally apropos for me, since the first jazz concert I ever saw was the Jimmy Giuffre 3, in 1993, and I’ve been running towards that sense ever since.]“ – Andrew Choate – Nickelsdorf Jazz Festival – 2014
“It starts with a squawl of electronic noise and a flurry of percussion, some guitar and scribbled piano buried in the mix behind Cooper’s straight-forward singing of Robert Johnson’s ‘If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day’, almost sounding like some lost Alan Lomax field-recorded sample floated over free improvisation groove. And then it’s straight into a 15 minute blues and gospel medley kicked off with slide guitar and cymbal waves…it’s very recognisably the Mike Cooper who first appeared on The Inverted World and Oh Really?! more than 40 years ago, but clothed in startlingly inventive and surprisingly different robes to anything you’ve encountered before….the result is probably the best record of Cooper’s long and varied career and one of the most original, uncategorisable and inventive albums you’ll hear in a quite a while.” (Ian A. Anderson – Froots Magazine – UK)
Mike Cooper ( guitars/electronics/vocals)
Fabrizio Spera (drums/percussion)
Roberto Bellatalla (double bass)
(features special guest Leila Adu)