by Willard Manus
the name of Todd Cochran. With the release of THEN AND AGAIN. HERE AND
NOW this young pianist breaks into jazzs big time.
Cochran, who has played with Freddie Hubbard and Bobby Hutcherson (among
others), makes a major statement with THEN AND AGAIN, which he recently
recorded with bassist John Leftwich and drummer Michael Carvin. The trio
plays ten tunes from the Great American Songbook, plus three originals-and
a prelude by J.S. Bach!
Our goal, said Cochran, was to escape the humdrum and shape little
poetic islands of peace where we can truly connect in a dream that opens
our thinking to new perspectives. Credit him with living up to that
ambitious statement. THEN AND AGAIN is that rare thing, a CD that moves
jazz in a new and daring direction.
THEN AND AGAIN is a concept album. Its a journey that reaches
back in time while moving forward in thought, Cochran explains.
Put another way, the trio interweaves its investigation of original material
with explorations in the form of abstractions and variations.
It makes for music that continually surprises with its sudden, startling
changes, its gutsy departures from the norm.
the familiar in unfamiliar ways, giving tunes like Softly In a Morning
Sunrise, I Got Rhythm and April in Paris
a complete make-over. He also steps aside for Leftwich to solo briefly
but movingly on the bass, before soloing himself on Bachs Fantasie.
Cochran also pays tribute to his heroes, Duke Ellington and Thelonious
Monk, on this challenging and ground-breaking disc.