Todd Cochran TC3

Then And Again, Here And Now
(Sunnyside)

Todd Cochran, a chameleon at the keyboards, breaks a 10-year hiatus from recording with Then And Again, Here And Now. That Cochran chose to return with a standards album seems significant. But these tunes, flush with lyricism and rhythmic vitality, reflect his early grounding in the blues-based innovations of mentors like John Handy, Woody Shaw and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

On Thelonious Monk’s “Bemsha Swing,” for instance, he anchors his galloping improvisations with a heavy-swinging bass line that opens into a deep-hued, arco bass solo. On Bobby Hutcherson’s “Little B’s Poem,” he keeps the waltz groove on edge with unexpected harmonic tensions. And on the jazz bellwether “I Got Rhythm,” he reharmonizes the classic changes, moves through a double-time feel and includes an extended drum solo so articulate that you can almost make out the words.

Cochran recorded with his spectacular trio, TC3, featuring bassist John Leftwich and drummer Michael Carvin. But he also devotes several of the album’s 15 tracks to solo piano. The title cut proffers Cochran’s final statement on the topic: It’s an improvisatory swirl of classical idioms, free-jazz, percussive accents and, yes, love.