FINE MUSIC FOR THE CULTURAL CREATIVES

 

 

ALBUM BIO :

JESSIE ALLEN COOPER
With Tim Ponzek
PACIFIC LOUNGE

Count on composer and saxophonist Jessie Allen Cooper to come up with
something different and innovative with each new recording. He has created a unique
sound on his new PACIFIC LOUNGE album by only having two instruments ­ his
soprano saxophone accompanied by acoustic piano played by Tim Ponzek.

While the combination of these two instruments by themselves is a different
sound than most listeners have ever heard, the result is hauntingly beautiful.
Not only are saxophone-and-piano duet albums virtually unheard of, but a
soprano saxophone is only occasionally heard in the field of new age music. This
unusual recording, featuring a dozen carefully-crafted tunes, was specifically
designed as romantic, relaxing, chill-out music ­ a perfect prescription for
everyone in today's hurried, stressful, noisy world. The album is available
in quality book and record stores nationwide as well as online at sites such as
amazon.com, digital download locations and Cooper's own
www.CooperSoundWaves.com.

"The idea behind the title of the CD is that the music is meant to help
listeners unwind just like they were walking along a beach somewhere," Jessie
explains. "I like to think of the ocean as a lounge. An ocean is one of nature's
best relaxation tools. Think about how it affects all your senses: the water
is great to look at or swim in, you can watch the clouds and the blue sky, you
feel the sunshine and cool breezes, the sound of the waves is very relaxing,
and even the air has that salt-tang to it. The music on PACIFIC LOUNGE is
meant to give you a similar feeling and peaceful state-of-mind."

Cooper has released new age music previously ­ most notably his first album,
HEAVEN SENT. That also was a unique duet recording, that time between his
saxophone and kalimba player Buddy Kithara (the CD was remastered and reissued in
2004). Now considered a new age classic, it was first released more than
two-decades ago, making Cooper one of the genre's pioneers. The difference in
the two CDs is that HEAVEN SENT was entirely improvisational while the music on
PACIFIC LOUNGE is carefully composed and arranged (although select solo breaks
within some of the pieces are improvised).

Among Cooper's other new age recordings is the therapeutic and healing SOUND
OF FEELINGS, an ambitious five-CD set (plus a sampler) of varied instrumental
music that captures distinctly different emotions (anger, love, depression,
happiness, etc.). The music was created specifically to go with the book
"Living With Feeling" by best-selling author Lucia Capacchione ("Visioning," "Power
of the Other Hand"), who uses the music extensively in her classes and
seminars. Shortly after completing that project, Jessie got the opportunity to again
explore wide-ranging emotions with his music when he released the
groundbreaking album "9-11-01," a full-length soundtrack documenting the disaster that
happened that day. Cooper's music also has been on multi-artist new age
lifestyle recordings including Hallmark's MUSIC TO SHUT OUT THE RUSH HOUR and SONGS
OF THE DOLPHIN, MCA/Sona Gaia's COLLECTION ONE, and Narada's RADIOACTIVE and
NUAGES.

In addition, Cooper has released two acclaimed albums, SOFT WAVE and SOUND
TRAVELS, that contain a mixture of soft contemporary instrumental numbers
alongside smooth jazz tunes making him one of the few musicians unafraid to mix
genres and styles within a recording. "Even when the arrangements are soft, my
melodies still tend to come out of the jazz tradition," says Jessie. "For
example, I can perform the music on PACIFIC LOUNGE in concert as a duet or with my
full band." Besides his successes in the new age music field, Jessie also has
a strong background in blues and jazz, and among his other albums is MOMENT
IN TIME which is smooth jazz from start to finish.

On PACIFIC LOUNGE, Cooper wrote all of the melodies and usually conceived the
form the song would take, but Ponzek was intimately involved in helping craft
the final arrangement. "Tim utilizes a very distinct style of chord
progression that brings a lot of movement underneath the saxophone melody line,"
explains Jessie. "His chords add structure and strength to the pieces and
especially harmonize with my melodies."

The inspiration for the PACIFIC LOUNGE music came from Cooper's deep
emotional intention to express eternal love, friendship and romance. "I think the
music works well for people in intimate situations," says Jessie. "But it also
can be effective for meditation, massage, yoga, exercising, being spiritual or
just taking it easy. It's primarily for relaxation. People in today's
society are so bombarded with stress, pressure and noise, I hope this music will
offer some gentle relief."

According to Tim Ponzek, "What separates this CD from so many others is the
strength of Jessie's melodies. The structure of the music works on many
different levels. It can be enjoyable in the background when you're chilling or
brought to the forefront when you want music you can listen to intently."

"Sociologists have identified a segment of society they call the 'Cultural
Creatives'," Cooper adds. "There are more than 50 million people who care
deeply about relationships, peace, social justice, ecology, spirituality,
self-actualization, self-improvement and self-expression. I feel the music on PACIFIC
LOUNGE works especially well with their lifestyle and activities."

Two tunes ­ "Within Thought" and "In A Silent Place" ­ capture the feeling
of "that quiet, still place deep inside us all where we go to visit special
memories," according to Cooper. Another pair of compositions ("Ballad for an
Artist" and "Waltz for an Artist") were inspired by Jan Deswart, "one of the most
versatile artists in the world. He was a sculptor, wood-carver, inventor,
game creator and much more." Other music on the CD ranges from the sadness of
"Ballad for a Broken Heart" and the wistfully poignant "Passion Remembered" to
the sultry "October Moon" ("looking into the eyes of a beautiful woman on a
moonlit night"). "Song For You" was written for a good friend ("when you've
done something wrong, it's not a bad idea to write a song for that person") while
"Thought for a Friend" is "dedicated to all my friends because friendship is
such an important aspect of life."

Cooper lives in Southern California a few blocks from the ocean, but he grew
up in Everett, Washington. He began playing harmonica at an early age (and
still performs on it occasionally in concert and on a few songs on his SOUND
TRAVELS album). In his late teens, saxophone became his primary instrument
(although he also plays keyboards). Starting in high school, he was in a
succession of bands playing different styles of music -- Mosehops (hard blues-rock),
Rainbow Blues Band (strictly the blues), Déjà vu (funk and R&B) and Aurora
(pop-rock). Cooper moved to Los Angeles where he got gigs playing with The
Coasters and Charles Wright before beginning to record more of his own music. On his
various albums, Cooper has used many top musicians including Rusty Hamilton,
Steve Reid, Russ Freeman, Ricardo Silveira, Rob Mullins, Steve Katz, Steve
Bailey and Osamu Kitajima.

Ponzek graduated with a BA degree in piano and music composition from Temple
University in Philadelphia. Tim also is a guitarist and a singer-songwriter
with a solo album (RIGHT TO THE EDGE) and a duet recording with Lisa Pressman
(IF THE SKY WAS HOME). He joined guitarist Robben Ford in the band behind John
Alberti on a jazz album. Ponzek also has backed many well-known artists in
concert including Andy Williams, Leslie Gore, Bobby Vinton, The Drifters, the
Blues Brothers, The Coasters and Peter Marshall.

"I don't know why there aren't more saxophone-and-piano albums because it's
a natural marriage," says Cooper. "The piano has the percussive attack of
hammers on strings and can play both rhythm, melodies and counter-melodies, while
the saxophone is the opposite -- a wind instrument that plays the melodies in
a floating, soaring way over the top. Personally, I love the combination of
the two."



ved. Jessie Allen Cooper
coopersoundwaves.com

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