Jessie Allen Cooper
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Jessie Allen Cooper


Band Jazz World


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"Scott O'Brien"


Sound Travels
Cooper Sound Waves

If you remember the early days of this genre we now call 'Smooth Jazz," you'll recall the variety of textures and rhythms
that we enjoyed on "New Adult Contemporary" radio. Alongside the contemporary jazz of Bob James, David Sanborn,
and Larry Carlton were the New Age/World sounds of Patrick O'Hearn, Bruce Becvar, and, yes, Jessie Allen Cooper,
whose hypnotic sax work on SOFT WAVE, combined with exotic rhythms and the sounds of nature, intrigued and
inspired us. If you still long for that "holistic" sound in your Smooth Jazz mix today, you'll be delighted, as I am, to
discover SOUND TRAVELS, the latest release from Jessie. This is quintessential Sunday morning music. A fresh cup
of coffee, the Sunday paper, and good conversation all enhanced and elevated by the kind of music you'll hear in
abundance on SOUND TRAVELS. Don't get me wrongSOUND TRAVELS goes well any time you want to transport
yourselfvia musicto exotic destinations. In Jessie's words, SOUND TRAVELS "breathes of dreams, exotic instruments
and sounds from around the World". From the soft, introspective "Song for You," and "Ballad for an Artist," to the
mesmerizing, rhythmic "Heavens Dance" and "Full Moon," enhanced by the signature sound of Steve Reid's brilliant
percussion. You'll definitely hear and feel Jessie Allen Cooper's love for music and his deep sensitivity for the
environment and all living things when you partake of SOUND TRAVELS. This album should be a welcome breath of
fresh air to your music library. ~ -

"Bill Binkelman"

Pacific Lounge is a recording of sax (Jesse Allen Cooper) and piano (Tim Ponzek) duets that paints a subdued twilight picture of dreamy sunsets, walks on the beach with a special someone, and moments spent in quiet introspection. As such, the words "Sax and Piano to Chill-Out and Relax with" on the CD cover is a bit misleading, at least as my definition of "chill-out" stands, which is not to say that this music is anything but relaxing, because this is indeed a soothing recording. However, the use of "chill-out" connotes to a subgenre which, in my opinion, is more groove-oriented and urban-centered. Pacific Lounge is more concerned with setting a romantic and quiet mood, as I described it above. There are no rhythms on the album, except where imparted by the piano melody itself. Instead, the songs flow like a lazy river coursing through a gently rolling countryside.

Each player takes turns soloing on selected tracks but most of the time this is the epitome of a duet album as Cooper's sax gently swoops or flits and Ponzek's piano delicately prances in unison. The two musicians show a symmetry that only comes with artists who are clued in to each other and working toward a common goal, in this case, to instill a sense of quiet calm and beauty in these twelve instrumental tracks.

While songs do vary, the CD as a whole establishes and maintains a mood admirably. The title track opens in a wistful mood, owing mostly to Cooper's playing. Ponzek, as he does frequently throughout the album, shows restraint that borders on minimalism at times, yet allowing melodic sensibility to infiltrate and sweep over his playing. "Within A Thought" is more pensive, almost sepia-toned in emotive resonance, ideal music for a grey autumn day. And so it goes on with each successive track offering distinctly different yet similarly-themed variations on the above. Sometimes, things pick up the pace and brighten the mood somewhat, such as on the sunny "Thought For A Friend" or the cool jazzy "Waltz For An Artist" which swings with sexy playfulness. At other times, such as on "October Moon," Cooper switches from his usual soprano sax to the lower tenor and the resulting music is cast in the moody neon-glow from late night cafes and bars, as you walk city streets along with just a sprinkling of other denizens of the wee hours. The recording closes with "In A Silent Place" and it's an especially appropriate mellow concluding number featuring some of Cooper's most emotive work. He makes the sax sigh contentedly and Ponzek supports him with just the right amount of piano accompaniment to underscore the sensitive nature of the music.

Hopefully, the wording on the cover of this album will not steer listeners in the wrong direction. If you're looking for something hip and containing chill-out beats along the lines of any number of European lounge music albums, you're going to be disappointed. On the other hand, if the dreamier side of the sax (stripped of any smooth jazz characteristics, closer in feel to Paul Winter's style) is what you crave, Pacific Lounge is perfect for you. It's a very laid back yet not numbing collection of instrumentals that will relax you while also displaying the abundant talents of two excellent musicians. I give it a solid recommendation.

- Wind & Wire

"Natural Voyager by RJ Lannan"

Natural Voyager

Jessie Allen Cooper plays soprano saxophone and has had several albums of jazz and New Age music, notably Soft Wave and Sound Travels. He attended Western Washington University to study jazz improvisation. At the university, he and Buddy Kithara discovered the alternative music program called Fairhaven and grabbed a recording session together in a huge echoing concrete hallway. Music came so clear and fast to them they dubbed it Heaven Sent.

Okay, here is something a little bit different. Have you ever heard a lamellaphone? I am sure you have. Another word for the small, portable music box uniquely from the African continent is a kalimba. It is usually a board or box held in the hands or lap that has small metal strips that are plucked to make a tinny, music box sounds. It takes a bit of practice and talent to make the sound melodious and not annoying. Buddy Kithara has the talent. Strangely enough, kithara is the ancient Greek word for guitar.

Born on the same day, Jessie Cooper and Buddy Kithara are astrological twins. Coincidence abounds as the two learned that they were born on the same year in the same town of Everett, Washington. The two got together and, in one of those well known, legendary all night recording sessions gave breath and birth to what is called Heaven Sent. After a time Cooper, added soft, gentle nature sounds to the album and re-released the version reviewed here.

In the first track By the Ocean, you can hear the sound of ocean waves lapping at the shore, maybe just off Washington’s Cape Flattery and busy coastal birds vie for your attention as the echoing sound of the soprano saxophone and cheery kalimba introduce you to the music. The two instruments quickly achieve a balance and get your mind swaying as if seduced by an innocuous Asiatic snake charmer.

In the Night has the playful sounds of wooing crickets and ardent frogs as the subdued strains of Cooper’s saxophone and Kithara’s kalimba lead you out into a warm summer night. You can almost see the fireflies flashing in the dark as unseen life unfolds around you. You look up and see a galaxy of stars competing with the fireflies. The memories of your first camping trip in the backyard return to your mind, as does the lightness of youth.

The song A Rainy Day is energizing and cheerful as the rain comes down and places puddles on your doorstep and lets the sweet smell of wet leaves fill your senses. You can see out your window the kid’s bright yellow raingear and spy on the neighbors as they expand their umbrellas to go about their busy day. This particular song soothes your mind without thinking about it. It is no wonder why Heaven Sent is often used as inspirational music.

The final two tracks, By The Ocean and Evening Tide returns you to the ocean. The waves crash to the shore as you are drawn back to where it all began. Life on the planet. An important event in your life or a something yet to come. On Evening Tide, the final sound you hear is the hoarse echoing of a distant foghorn. Perhaps it is a warning that there is danger ahead, but gratefully someone is watching out for you.

Heaven Sent is surreptitiously about a journey. As you listen, the music takes to the ocean, into the fields and forests, then goes into night and gets you up into the mountains. The next thing you know you are back at the ocean. Full circle and the journey begins again. There is no other instrument that can reproduce the haunting sound of the soprano sax and the kalimba, tiny and mighty, is about as exotic as you can get. Cooper and Kithara do an amiable job of wedding the two instruments to soothe you, inspire you and get you on your way.

- New Age Reporter

"Quote Lisa Garr,KPFK-FM-LA"

"Very Very Powerful" Lisa Garr,
KPFK FM-LA - various

"Sound Travels"

Sound Travels goes well any time you want to transport yourself... via exotic destinations... a welcome breath of fresh air to your music library. - Scott O'Brien

"Jonathan Widran, live"

"When Cooper jams the audience gets into the act... Coopers' finest trait may just be his intense concern to involve his audience" Johnathan Widran, Music Connection quote. - Music Connection

"Sound Travels, Toledo Blade"

...richness in a manner that traps the ears and surrounds the senses. Larry Roberts The Toledo Blade quote. - Toledo Blade


Let's Connect
Pacific Lounge
Sound Travels
Moment in Time
Sound of Feelings
Soft Wave
Heaven Sent



For Immediate Release

Tracks Recorded Featuring Some of LA’s Top Session Musicians,
The Pop Instrumental Set Was Produced By Jessie Allen Cooper
And Former Rippington Steve Reid
And Recorded In Part At Reid’s Sonic Jungle
On The Famous Trident Console From The Old A&M Studios

Let’s connect to each other. Let’s connect to musical history and to the world around us. Jessie Allen Cooper’s ‘Let’s Connect’ provides just the vehicle. Connecting was Cooper’s goal in producing this album, a goal he’s sonically nailed. Music naturally connects people by underscoring the emotions we all share, reminding us that we are less different and less isolated than we all often feel. Watching friends from various backgrounds, influences, ages, and tastes, collectively head-bob to the beats makes that connection perfectly clear: Let’s Connect

In the spirit of his iconic ancestor, Benjamin Franklin, a genius known for smithing powerful creativity, ingenuity, and a deep sense of restless invention, Cooper brilliantly taps into an eclectic array of musical genres – pop, jazz, R&B, chill, and world beat. With seamless craft, Cooper subtly weaves these distinctive styles, thus transcending passing musical trends. The popular composer and saxophonist’s studio, Cooper Sound Waves, is located in Venice Beach, California, the melting pot which clearly influenced this project. Drawing inspiration from this multitude of genres, but letting each have its voice, makes Cooper’s highly anticipated new CD ‘Let’s Connect’ an exciting must have for adventurous listeners everywhere.

While ‘Let’s Connect’ directly follows the sax and piano based chill out/relaxation project ‘Pacific Lounge’ in Cooper’s discography, its rich textures, distinctively Latin and Brazilian directions, and vibrant eclecticism expand upon the multi-faceted energy of his last major market release, 2003’s ‘Sound Travels.’ Co-producing the album with longtime collaborator and former Rippingtons percussionist and soundscape master Steve Reid, Cooper connected his favorite L.A. based musicians for sessions that took place at Cooper Sound Waves, Krizman’s Farm, and Reid’s well known Sonic Jungle – a facility featuring the famous classic Trident console from the old A&M Studios. Half of the ten tracks were done from start to finish at the Sonic Jungle. Let’s Connect reflects Cooper’s old school meets modern technology approach the project includes the use of both analog and Pro Tools recording equipment.

“I’m super excited about ‘Let’s Connect.’ It’s the true pinnacle of my music to date,” says Cooper, who launched his career in the mid-80’s with the now classic recordings ‘Heaven Sent’ and ‘Soft Wave.’ He says, “It has flavors of every kind of music I have recorded and performed in the past, plus a lot of new and exciting world music and cool blues elements. These tracks are ‘pop jazz.’ They’re ‘pop instrumental,’ as they stretch and connect boundaries.” While the project has a wide range of versatility, the tight melodic connections keep the music from veering away from its overall vision. Cooper says, “If it was a clock the hands would be between ten and two swinging in either direction even during the same song and at times stretching beyond those boundaries.”
Cooper adds that ‘Let’s Connect’ connects many different dimensions and styles with shades of blues and world beats, where some tracks are wild, jamming, and up tempo others are more moody, lyrical and introspective. The title track ‘Let’s Connect’ sets the tone for the album with a thick and crisp urban smooth jazz sound. Focal tracks include the live-in-studio samba jam ‘At The Festival,’ and the grooving ventures ‘Departure,’ ’Beyond the Sun’ and ‘Thai Lady.’ The softer side of the saxman’s artistry shines through in the ballads ‘Personal Touch’ and ‘For Your Eyes.’

Aside from co-writing with more R&B-oriented composers, Reid pushed Cooper to play more harmonica, his original instrument, and tenor sax in addition to Cooper’s well-known soprano sax. If listeners aren’t familiar with some of the names in Cooper’s ensemble, they likely know their work. Keyboardist and Liverpool native Mike Railo, whom Cooper credits as being one of the ‘sonic architects’ of the project, played with iconic 80’s bands English Beat and Flock of Seagulls, has done sessions for Ozzy Osbourne, worked with Sting and writes a lot of film music. On the explosive title track, which will be the album’s first radio single, Cooper creates real horn section magic with trumpeter Jim Hale, who also appeared on ‘Sound Travels.’

Other key participants shaping the sound of ‘Let’s Connect’ include keyboardists Kim Hansen, part of Steve Reid’s Bamboo Forest Group who has also played with Babyface, Steve Katz (Jon Anderson), and Arm