Jerome Cooper

Last updated

Jerome Cooper (December 14, 1946 – May 6, 2015) was an American free jazz musician. [1] In addition to trap drums, Cooper played balafon, chirimia and various electronic instruments, and referred to himself as a "multi-dimensional drummer," meaning that his playing involved "layers of sounds and rhythms". [2] He was born in Chicago, Illinois and died in Brooklyn, New York. [1] Allmusic reviewer Ron Wynn called him "A sparkling drummer and percussionist... An excellent accompanist". [3] Another Allmusic reviewer stated that "in the truest sense this drummer is a magician, adept at transformation and the creation of sacred space". [4]



Cooper studied with Oliver Coleman and Walter Dyett in the late 1950s and early 1960s, [5] then studied at the American Conservatory of Music and Loop College. [3] In 1968 he worked with Oscar Brown, Jr. and Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre in the U.S. but moved to Europe before the end of the decade, where he played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Steve Lacy, Lou Bennett (with whom he visited Gambia and Senegal [6] ), the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Alan Silva, and Noah Howard. [5] [7] After returning to the U.S. in 1971, he joined the Revolutionary Ensemble alongside Leroy Jenkins and Sirone, where he remained for several years, and played piano, flute, and bugle in addition to drums. [7] In the 1970s, he played with Sam Rivers, George Adams, Karl Berger, Andrew Hill, and Anthony Braxton. [3] In the 1980s he worked with McIntyre again, as well as with Cecil Taylor. [3]


Cooper died May 6, 2015, aged 68, from complications of multiple myeloma, according to his daughter, Levanah Cummins-Cooper. [1]


As leader

With the Revolutionary Ensemble

As sideman

With Lester Bowie

With Anthony Braxton

With Ted Daniel

With Leroy Jenkins and The Jazz Composer's Orchestra

With Rahsaan Roland Kirk

With Steve Lacy

With Marcello Melis

With Roscoe Mitchell and Don Moye

With Alan Silva

With Cecil Taylor

With Clifford Thornton

Related Research Articles

Cecil Taylor American jazz pianist and poet

Cecil Percival Taylor was an American pianist and poet.

Muhal Richard Abrams Musical artist

Muhal Richard Abrams was an American educator, administrator, composer, arranger, clarinetist, cellist, and jazz pianist in the free jazz medium. He recorded and toured the United States, Canada and Europe with his orchestra, sextet, quartet, duo and as a solo pianist. His musical affiliations constitute a "who's who" of the jazz world, including Max Roach, Dexter Gordon, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Art Farmer, Sonny Stitt, Anthony Braxton, and The Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Roscoe Mitchell Musical artist

Roscoe Mitchell is an American composer, jazz instrumentalist, and educator, known for being "a technically superb – if idiosyncratic – saxophonist". The Penguin Guide to Jazz described him as "one of the key figures" in avant-garde jazz; All About Jazz stated in 2004 that he had been "at the forefront of modern music" for more than 35 years. Critic Jon Pareles in The New York Times has mentioned that Mitchell "qualifies as an iconoclast". In addition to his own work as a bandleader, Mitchell is known for cofounding the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).

Leroy Jenkins (musician) Musical artist (1932–2007)

Leroy Jenkins was an American composer and violinist/violist.

Joseph Jarman was an American jazz musician, composer, poet, and Shinshu Buddhist priest. He was one of the first members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Thomas Buckner is an American baritone vocalist specializing in the performance of contemporary classical music and improvised music. In his work, he utilizes a wide range of extended (non-traditional) vocal techniques.

Fred Hopkins was a double bassist who played a major role in the development of the avant-garde jazz movement. He was best known for his association with the trio Air with Henry Threadgill and Steve McCall, and for his numerous performances and extensive recordings with major jazz musicians such as Muhal Richard Abrams, Arthur Blythe, Oliver Lake, and David Murray. He was a member of the AACM, and a frequent participant in the loft jazz scene of the 1970s. He also co-led a number of albums with the composer and cellist Diedre Murray. Gary Giddins wrote that Hopkins' playing "fused audacious power with mercuric reflexes." Howard Reich, writing in the Chicago Tribune, stated that "many connoisseurs considered [Hopkins] the most accomplished jazz bassist of his generation" and praised him for "the extraordinarily fluid technique, sumptuous tone and innovative methods he brought to his instrument."

The Revolutionary Ensemble was a free jazz trio consisting of violinist Leroy Jenkins (1932–2007), bassist Sirone (1940–2009) and percussionist/pianist Jerome Cooper (1946–2015).

Charles "Bobo" Shaw American musician

Charles Wesley "Bobo" Shaw was an American free jazz drummer, known as a prominent member of the Human Arts Ensemble and Black Artists Group. He was born in Pope, Mississippi, United States.

Warren Smith (jazz percussionist) Musical artist

Warren Smith is an American jazz drummer and percussionist, known as a contributor to Max Roach's M'boom ensemble and leader of the Composer's Workshop Ensemble (Strata-East).

Thurman Barker is an American jazz drummer.

Steve McCall was an American jazz drummer.

Norris Jones, better known as Sirone was an American jazz bassist and composer.

James Emery is an American jazz guitarist. He grew up in Willoughby, Ohio and Shaker Heights, Ohio. Emery plays archtop guitar, semi-acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and soprano guitar.

1970s in jazz

In the 1970s in jazz, jazz become increasingly influenced by Latin jazz, combining rhythms from African and Latin American countries, often played on instruments such as conga, timbale, güiro, and claves, with jazz and classical harmonies played on typical jazz instruments. Artists such as Chick Corea, John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola increasingly influenced the genre with jazz fusion, a hybrid form of jazz-rock fusion which was developed by combining jazz improvisation with rock rhythms, electric instruments, and the highly amplified stage sound of rock musicians such as Jimi Hendrix. All Music Guide states that "..until around 1967, the worlds of jazz and rock were nearly completely separate." However, " rock became more creative and its musicianship improved, and as some in the jazz world became bored with hard bop and did not want to play strictly avant-garde music, the two different idioms began to trade ideas and occasionally combine forces." On June 16, 1972 the New York Jazz Museum opened in New York City at 125 West 55th Street in a one and one-half story building. It became the most important institution for jazz in the world with a 25,000 item archive, free concerts, exhibits, film programs, etc.

<i>Revolutionary Ensemble</i> (album) 1977 live album by Revolutionary Ensemble

Revolutionary Ensemble is an eponymous live album by the free jazz group consisting of violinist Leroy Jenkins, bassist Sirone and drummer Jerome Cooper, which was recorded in Austria in 1977 and released on the German Enja label and in the U.S. on Inner City Records the following year.

<i>The Peoples Republic</i> (album) 1976 studio album by The Revolutionary Ensemble

The People's Republic is an album by the Revolutionary Ensemble, violinist Leroy Jenkins, bassist Sirone and drummer Jerome Cooper, which was recorded in late 1975 and released on the A&M/Horizon label the following year.

<i>Vietnam</i> (Revolutionary Ensemble album) 1972 live album by Revolutionary Ensemble

Vietnam, also referred to as Vietnam 1 & 2 is a live album by the Revolutionary Ensemble, violinist Leroy Jenkins, bassist Sirone and drummer Jerome Cooper, which was recorded in 1972 and released on the ESP-Disk label.

<i>Wildflowers: The New York Loft Jazz Sessions</i> 1977 live album by Various

Wildflowers: The New York Loft Jazz Sessions is a series of five albums recorded May 14–23, 1976 at Studio Rivbea, a loft jazz space in New York City, run by Sam Rivers and his wife Bea. The albums include performances by groups led by musicians such as Hamiet Bluiett, Anthony Braxton, Marion Brown, Dave Burrell, Andrew Cyrille, Oliver Lake, Jimmy Lyons, Ken McIntyre, Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, Roscoe Mitchell, David Murray, Sunny Murray, Sam Rivers, Leo Smith, Henry Threadgill, and Randy Weston. The recordings were originally released in 1977 on the Douglas and Casablanca labels as five separate LPs, and were reissued in 1999 by Knit Classics as a 3-CD set.

<i>CT: The Dance Project</i> 2008 live album by Cecil Taylor

CT: The Dance Project is a live album by Cecil Taylor recorded during the Summer Music concert series at the Akademie der Kunste, Berlin on July 8, 1990, and released in 2008 by FMP. The album documents a multimedia event that featured Taylor, bassist William Parker, percussionist Masashi Harada, and a group of four dancers.


  1. 1 2 3 Chinen, Nate (May 13, 2015). "Jerome Cooper, a Multitextured Jazz Percussionist, Dies at 68". Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  2. Cooper, Jerome. "In Concert: From There To Hear: Multi-dimensional Drummer". Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Wynn, Ron. "Jerome Cooper: Biography". Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  4. arwulf, arwulf. "Jerome Cooper: A Magical Approach". Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  5. 1 2 Feather, Leonard; Gitler, Ira (1999). "Cooper, Jerome". The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 150.
  6. Wilmer, Val (2009). As Serious As Your Life. Serpent's Tail. p. 361.
  7. 1 2 Porter, Lewis (2001). "Cooper, Jerome". In Kuhn, Laura (ed.). Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians . 2. New York: G. Schirmer, Inc. p. 721. OCLC   313884977.