Cooper demonstrates his versatility
by performing on saxophone, harmonica and keyboards. His wide-ranging
and eclectic musical interests are displayed on SOUND TRAVELS,
which primarily falls into the realm of smooth jazz; but on various
tracks it also features soaring new age, world-beat percussion,
techno-dance rhythms, and funky blues-rock. The album is available
in stores nationwide and online at sites such as amazon.com and
his own www.CooperSoundWaves.com.
For his music, Jessie is the composer,
arranger, engineer and producer, but he also brings in some of
the best players in the industry to compliment his sound. On
SOUND TRAVELS the special guests include percussionist Steve
Reid(Miles Davis, The Rippingtons, Supertramp), guitarists Jack
Majdecki (Glenn Yarbrough, Tony Morales) and Ira Ingber (Bob
Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, The Eagles), keyboardist Steve Katz (Jon
Anderson), and bassist Vail Johnson (Stevie Nicks, Kenny G, Warren
Hill) among others.
The album includes several melodic
smooth jazz tunes ("Full Moon," "Song For You,"
"Ballad for an Artist" and "Missing You")
featuring interplay between Cooper's soprano saxophone and Jim
Hale's muted trumpet. "Ever since I heard Miles Davis records
in the late Sixties and early Seventies using muted trumpet and
saxophone I wanted to explore that sound," Jessie says.
SOUND TRAVELS also spotlights several gentle compositions that
could fit into the pop/new age genre ("Walk In The Park"
" Waltz for an Artist,"and "Tranquility").
A fast-paced techno-beat propels "Dance On" while the
sound turns to funky blues-rock on "Groovin Out Back,"
both featuring Jessie on harmonica. Many of the songs are textured
with world-beat percussion sounds (especially congas and dumbek)
-- the African-sounding "Rain Dance," the Middle Eastern-influenced
"Awakening," and the highly-rhythmic "Heavens
The front and back covers of SOUND
TRAVELS reflect this diversity with photos from many countries
superimposed to reflect the music's global influences. The album
title has several meanings, and references how the music takes
the listener on a journey to many different places.
Although Jessie grew up playing
rock'n'roll, blues and R&B, his first album, HEAVEN SENT,
was meditative and new age (and features kalimba player Buddy
Kithara). It was recorded as live improvisation in a long hallway
with a very high ceiling for natural echo (inspired by playing
harmonica in empty boxcars and tunnels as a youngster). Cooper's
second album, the strong-selling SOFT WAVE, was a popular blend
of smooth jazz and new age music on the Narada label and the
disc received heavy airplay nationwide. The recording featured
musicians such as keyboardists Rick Krizman (Deborah Holland,
and TV themes for Inside Edition and American Journal), Mark
Cohen (author of The Mythical Journey of Rathoshemzi) and Rusty
Hamilton (The Jacksons, Barry White, Kool & The Gang); and
percussionist Arno Lucas (Al Jarreau, Rickie Lee Jones, Randy
Cooper made his most complete smooth
jazz album with MOMENT IN TIME. Jessie surrounded himself with
a team of top players (and recording artists in their own right)
including Steve Reid, Russ Freeman (The Rippingtons, Kenny G),
Ricardo Silveira (Gilberto Gil, Herbie Mann), Rob Mullins (Branford
Marsalis, Kirk Whalum), Steve Bailey (The Rippingtons, David
Benoit), Larry Washington (Elton John, The Jacksons), Mike Smith
(Bobby Lyle), Osamu Kitajima (Ottmar Liebert, Dan Siegel), Mike
Thompson (The Eagles, Alanis Morissette, Rod Stewart), Mark Portmann
(The Rippingtons, Celine Dion, Dave Koz) and others.
In 2000, Cooper completed 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. The day after he began a new album, the terrorism
tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 struck the nation. As he watched it
unfold on TV along with the grim aftermath, he found himself
recording music that reflected the horrific event and the feelings
of the country. Recorded in the four days immediately after the
terrorist act (and released a year later on the first anniversary),
Cooper's album 9-11-01 is a full-length soundtrack documenting
the disaster. The music has been played on hundreds of radio
stations, especially each year on that date.
Cooper's music also has been included
on multi-artist recordings including Hallmarks MUSIC TO SHUT
OUT THE RUSH HOUR and SONGS OF THE DOLPHIN, MCA/Sona Gaia's COLLECTION
ONE, and Narada's RADIOACTIVE and NUAGES SAMPLER.
Jessie's love of music began at
a young age. "I was always escaping into music. When I was
growing up, every cent I could earn I spent buying records."
At age 13, growing up in Everett, Washington, Jessie was the
singer in his first rock band. But when he was 15 he saw John
Mayall play harmonica in concert which immediately led Jessie
to that instrument. "I started studying the blues and especially
the harmonica players like Little Walter, Paul Butterfield, Magic
Dick with the J. Geils Band, Stevie Wonder and Toots Thielemans."
When Jessie was 19, the chromatic
limitations of the diatonic harmonica compelled him to embrace
the saxophone. He deepened his studies of jazz improvisation
and composition at Western Washington State University (where
he minored in art). From his late teens on, 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). Aurora toured extensively
throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada. When that group
broke up, Cooper moved to Los Angeles where he got gigs playing
with The Coasters and Charles Wright before beginning to record
his own music. Cooper also maintained his love of working with
wood by opening a museum-quality, archival, picture framing company
(which he still owns) where each piece is carefully crafted by
hand from start to finish.
"I believe music is a high
art form that adds something special to our lives," says
Cooper. "It can take us through many emotions, add richness
to our world and even assist in healing broken spirits. I create
music to effect positive change in people's lives."