This episode delves deeper into Roulette TV’s interview with Jerome Cooper conducted in 1991.
Pointing out that many cultures, other than American, consider accomplished drummers as valued soloists, Jerome Cooper has stated his goal to “improve the quality of American music” in this and other respects. He more than proves his case here with a captivating solo performance entitled “All That Is or Is That All the Music”. Cooper employs not only the instruments of the conventional drum set (each of which he has given “psychic names” that describe and evoke their characters, eg. “OM” for the bass drum, “Julio” for the high-hat), but he also plays balaphones (“Repooc”), two types of the Mexican double reed instrument called the chiramia (“Slim” and “Big Mama”), a Yamaha synthesizer which supplies melodic and harmonic materials, and a Casio rhythm machine. This setup parallels the practice of other cultures in which drummers typically sing or play winds simultaneously with their drumming. Cooper’s performance is a suite of contrasting moods, and concludes with an astonishing display of “multi-dimensional” polyrhythmic sensibilities. In his interview, Cooper discusses the origins of and tensions within the highly influential Revolutionary Ensemble which he co-founded, his interest in sound qualities and the natural generation of rhythms, and his changing roles with collaborators such as respected moderns Cecil Taylor, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Oliver Lake, Lester Bowie, and Rashaad Roland Kirk.
Aired on rTV: 2000
Performance date: 05/11/1996
Episode digital release date: 05/07/2010
Host: Phoebe Legere
Produced by Jim Staley