Conversations is an album of improvisations featuring two musicians at the top of their form, Coat Cooke on saxophone and Joe Poole on drums, play with abandon and joy.
Joe Poole is a masterful technical drummer who uses his gift fearlessly to juxtapose humour, grace, ferocity and complexity all in the service of great story telling. He has an uncanny sense to hear everything in a different way, and it’s a thrill to hear him generate and distill ideas to become expressions of incredible clarity.
Coat Cooke embarks on adventures in sound with a palette of unusual timbres and themes. He has an unerring way of manipulating space through the use of silence to enhance and structure the sound canvas he creates.
Duet improvisation is one of the most naked and vulnerable possibilities that musicians can explore. These are extraordinary conversations that we, the listener, get to overhear.
"Vancouver saxophonist Coat Cooke has always been in full control of his horn and is capable of great heights of creativity. He leads the NOW Orchestra and is extremely active in many parts of the Canadian music community. But few projects have given him, as this one does, the freedom to express the full breadth of his artistry. Poole, one of Vancouver’s first-call drummers, here gives Cooke the solid yet sensitive foundation that allows him to soar. This is their first outing together, and it’s a fruitful one. The CD is full of listening, perhaps even more so than playing, and in the music world, that is a high compliment. The music on this CD possesses a rare clarity of expression such as comes only with years of paring music down to its essence. Although clearly free improv, the playing is not subject to the self-absorbed clichés that plague that genre. Instead, it bursts with life, creativity, and discovery." —Randy Raine-Reusch (Musicworks)
"Conversations is a collection of improvizations that really cook along. The first tune "Checkin' In" has Cooke quietly delivering melodic snippets with a slightly fuzzy tone. This tune keeps its intensity in check, and under Cooke's restrained melodies, Poole provides a lot of splash to keep the it buoyant. The improvisation that follows, "Feeling Fit" takes off with a stronger feel and engages in a little back and forth before they really start digging in into some heady lines and runs. A true highlight is the intense "Bob Weaver". Pooles drumming is so tight and propulsive that you can feel a moving baseline in between the two players. Each track has its own distinct flavor and feel. This is a solid recording and a great introduction to both musicians for me. Listening in on their conversations is enjoyable and their repartee doesn't miss a beat." - Paul Acquaro (The Free Jazz Collective)
"Conversations was recorded at the Cellar on October 6, 2011. One might anticipate some serious blowing and bashing right out of the gates as is so often the case with sax and drums duets. “Checkin’ In” opens the five song set and is an atmospheric and breathy piece. Poole is clearly a drummer who likes to explore the sonic dimensions of the individual pieces of the kit as much as use it in its entirety. Although he can swing like mad when he wants (“Feeling Feint”). Cooke works through a flurry of different techniques on the session, with some particularly fat tones blown in “Morning Story.” - Stuart Derdeyn (Vancouver Province)