«Conversations Vol. 1» is the first installment of a two-part, free-improvised meeting of two idiosyncratic musicians of the New York free jazz scene. Pianist Cooper-Moore began his career in the Loft scene of the seventies alongside William Parker, David S. Ware, and Bill Cole and won Lifetime Achievement Honoree at the 22nd iteration of Vision Festival. Tenor sax player Stephen Gauci is a generation younger. He arrived in New York in 2000 and collaborated with pianist Kris Davis and guitarist Nels Cline. Cooper-Moore and Gauci recorded their first duo album, Studio Sessions Vol 1, released on Gauci’s label in 2018.
«Conversations Vol. 1» was recorded at the legendary Sear Sound studio in October 2019 after a Seven-month residency of the duo at the Happylucky No.1 Gallery in Brooklyn. Cooper-Moore and Guaci have established a unique affinity that reflects almost the whole history of jazz, from its roots in blues and gospel to the stormy and abstract forms of free jazz, or as Gauci puts it: «each note laden with the entire history of music contained within».
The six untitled conversations offer spontaneous and profound conversations between two strong-minded improvisers who share a similar perspective about the art of the moment. «No need for compositions, no need for discussion», adds Gauci. They play as equals even though Gauci sees Cooper-Moore as a mentor and one of the world’s greatest living pianist-improviser. The interplay is open and urgent, never following familiar forms or narratives, takes risks, and insists on visiting new, uncharted sonic territories. But throughout this kind of intense mode of conversations Cooper-Moore and Gauchi manage to sing some engaging and emotional songs on the second one or even a more intimate and quiet one on the third conversation and introspective one on the short, fourth conversation. The fifth conversation sounds like a philosophical koan about the infinite yet transient qualities of any free improvisation. Cooper-Moore and Gauci close their set of conversations with their own kind of a passionate ballad where both sings their own songs and together their songs entwine into a deeper, moving statement.
Stephen Gauci (ts), Cooper-Moore (p)