Shane Cooper's Oscillations may not exactly be jazz...it may be better!
Brent Black / @CriticalJazz
Having long held to the misguided if not dated notion that all jazz is improvisational music and all improvisational music is jazz, Shane Cooper reminds me that original music that blends a plethora of genres goes far deeper than just an arbitrary umbrella term used to classify other artists music. Labels...are for cans of soup.
The aptly titles Oscillations is just that, careful manipulations of tone, texture and timing as the cultural by product of what may potentially be the fastest rising lyrical bassist to hit the improvisational landscape since Victor Wooten. To slap the arbitrary tag of jazz on compositions that are geared to a more globally oriented audience would be far too easy and wildly misleading. World music does not quite seem to fit the music of Shane Cooper either.
Cooper embraces an eclectic nature and is part of the rising improvisational scene located in South Africa. The ten instrumental tracks included on this incredibly engaging release are as thoughtful in presentation as they are varied in scope. While the instrumentation of this sextet would seem standard by those in the United States the presentation has been geared so that each member of this dynamic ensemble is allowed to make their own artistic statement within a varied framework. Odd meter, harmonic shifts, evolving dynamics all shape these miniature soundscapes into something that might be considered global chamber jazz but with far more depth. The variations in theme somehow all fit together as smaller parts of a larger puzzle. The cast of co-conspirators here are A list musicians and could be performing with any ensemble here in the United States. Hybrids are all the rage, Cooper goes beyond hybrid and creates his own undeniable genre with lyrical colors and harmonic richness untapped by similar performers.. Stunning.
Shane Cooper clearly establishes his voice both as a performer and composer with his unique gifts running parallel. A virtuoso bassist and a formidable composer, as a debut release Oscillations is head and shoulders above the competition.
Oscillations is a critics worst nightmare. A beautifully conceived and thought provoking melodic adventure with a rising star. An absolute wonderland of harmonic discovery.
Tracks: Broken Blues; Destination Unknown; Dead Letters; Shadowplay; The Herdsman; Drop Down / Deconstruct; Oriah; Big Sky; Oscillations; Dead Letters (Reprise).
Personnel: Shane Cooper: Double Bass, Electric Bass; Marovany; Bokani Dyer: Piano, Rhodes, Electric Organ; Kesivan Naldoo: Drums; Reza Khota: Guitar; Justin Bellairs: Alto Saxophone; Buddy Wells: Tenor Saxophone (7,8,10).