Michael_cochrane-cutting_edge_span3
May 1998

Michael Cochrane Quartet
Cutting Edge
SteepleChase

Well it's certainly not nearly as incisive as the title suggests, but it does delightfully puncture both the mind and heart. Classic bebop is the forte for this date in which pianist Michael Cochrane displays his graceful phrasing and bottomless facilities through an alluring set of erstwhile standards and engaging originals.

Although his feathery touch and unhurried pacing give away his Bud Powell, Kenny Drew and Wynton Kelly influences, his original composition, "Lines of Reason" illustrates his fondness for Monk's rhythmic ingenuity. Both he and alto-saxophonist, David Gross effortlessly deliver some wickedly knotty lines that in the hands of less capable musicians would obscure the gleeful nature of the composition. Gross' biting lyricism which recalls the sharp-pitched tone of Jackie McLean heats up the cozy ambiance afforded by Cochrane, bassist Ron McClure and drummer Yoron Israel. The quartet exudes a mature coolness that never sacrifices the fire needed to sustain a successful bop engagement as evidenced on the uptempo title track that pushes the envelope slightly towards post-bop or the quiet classic, "I Thought About You."

Classy without being contrived, Cutting Edge is a rewarding date that sings unapologetically that bebop indeed still lives.

Originally published in May 1998
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