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Michael Cochrane: Right Now

Most SteepleChase releases have a compelling reason to exist. Right Now is an exception. While it does reflect the label’s conscientious production values in the balanced, full-bandwidth recorded sound of engineer Jon Rosenberg, it is an ultraconservative, plain vanilla piano-trio session. All nine tunes are Michael Cochrane originals, and they are all compositionally generic. Taken as a whole, there is an unimaginative, formulaic feel about the way this project is assembled: two obligatory blues; token ballad; necessary samba; required hard-bop funk piece; alternating tempos; the codified structure of head/piano solo/bass solo/occasional drum solo/head/out.

But to describe Right Now in this fashion is to ignore an important truth. The straight-ahead piano trio is music’s closest equivalent to comfort food. While Cochrane is the furthest thing from an innovator, his music has sincerity and polish and even, in its proportional symmetries, a certain elegance. Its execution within an honored tradition is so error-free that piano-trio addicts (and there are many out there) can simply trust it and relax. We can rely on it at any time of the day or night for sustenance and consolation. Not junk food. Comfort food.

Originally Published