Steven Anthony Cook: “Smooth Walking” – a jewel of contemporary jazz

Steven Anthony Cook is a highly regarded composer who has studied, written, arranged and performed music from a variety of styles and genres. He is also master guitarist, pianist and drummer, and has performed with big jazz bands and orchestras around the world. Cook’s broad array of travelling experiences includes locales as diverse as Germany, France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy and the Caribbean. A formally trained musician, with Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance as a bassist, as well as a Master’s degree in Classical Composition, Cook has written numerous scores for international short films. Furthermore Cook’s talents have also been displayed on and off Broadway.  He performed in the orchestra of the Broadway shows, The Lion King and Aida, and traveled nationwide with the off-Broadway productions, Grease and Pippin.

Steven Anthony Cook recently released his second jazz album entitled “It’s Always Feels Good”. This collection of songs showcases Cook’s diverse talents as a guitarist, bassist, composer as well as someone who has the capabilities to mix and master his own compositions.

There are no banging swooning shrieking or clashing tracks. This release has none. So what’s left? Just beautiful music. Headphone music, that’s crafted as carefully as a Rolex. Music with swirling, calculated melodies and lilting arrangements. Music that is predictably excellent. No testing the limits. No tracks to hate.

The selection is just pure unadulterated smooth jazz. The varying paces and instrumental nuances command the listener’s ear throughout. The guitar starts it, the keyboards join in, and then the funky rhythms take these tracks home…sweet!

Much like what happens on the outstanding groove of the single, “Smooth Walking”, only this time around the piano starts it, the rhythm joins in, and Cook’s guitar takes it home! Glorious melody is the answer on this project.

Steven Anthony Cook’s playing has never been better. It is open, lyrical, and beautiful. It bears repeated listening, not just a quick listen and then a judgment. Each play will etch a little deeper into your consciousness.

Easy to enjoy but impossible to absorb in one sitting, Steven Anthony Cook’s works, have to be listened to a number of times to appreciate the sweep of its compositional arc. Apparent on the first go round are phrases that may weave through the pieces and a returning minimalism that surface now and again.

Occasionally, tight unison hard bop lines come into focus, only to be absorbed as a new texture takes its place in a kaleidoscopic tapestry of sound. There are plenty of thoroughly composed sections, meaty enough to satisfy the most hardcore jazz fans as well.

But above it all sits Steven Anthony Cook’s guitar textures which seem to dominate the foreground of the aural landscape. His playing is clean, precise and nuanced; a jewel of contemporary jazz music.


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