The term "shamefully neglected" is a jazz-crit cliche, but if I'm ever gonna use it, it might as well be in reference to Cooper-Moore. Master storyteller, instrument maker and free-jazz pianist par excellence, Cooper-Moore is a little-recognized yet much-respected presence on the New York City free scene--a musician's musician.
This collection of studio tracks, recorded in 1978, presents him in the company of tenorist David S. Ware, drummer Kenwood Dennard, vocalist Abigail Goldman and trumpeter Mark Gould. The music's rough-hewn and consistently inventive. Ware played as powerfully then as he does now, Dennard is a strong, reactive percussionist and trumpeter Gould (who's apparently better known these days as a virtuoso classical player) exhibits ridiculous chops and a fanciful imagination. Cooper-Moore plays his homemade instruments and piano.
It's all good, from the funky boing-boing of the diddley bow to the martial lilt of the clay fife and the gospelish strength of his piano work. There's not a heck of a lot out there by Cooper-Moore, making this CD all the more valuable.