Then And Again. Here And Now
Review by Willard Manus

Remember the name of Todd Cochran. With the release of THEN AND AGAIN. HERE AND NOW this young pianist breaks into jazz’s 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. “It’s 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.

Cochran explores 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 Bach’s “Fantasie.” Cochran also pays tribute to his heroes, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk, on this challenging and ground-breaking disc.

(Sunnyside Communications)