Keyboardist and composer Patrick Cooper likes the way it used to be. Inspired by the music he heard growing up, Cooper and his band deliver a tribute to the lush ballads and funky rhythms that defined the soul-jazz era of the ‘60s and ‘70s on his latest album, The Way It Used To Be.
He says spontaneity was the guiding force behind the album.
“I wanted to go back to that time when there was live drums, live instrumentation, more of that organic feel to it,” explains Cooper.
Asked if he remembers a time when he was really connected to the music, and really enjoying it and inspired by it as well, Cooper points to his childhood.
“I’m going to say I was really inspired by it when I was a kid," recalls Cooper. "When I was six, seven, or eight, nine, and 10 years old, living in my parents’ house, a lot of the music that was played was Earth, Wind and Fire, George Duke and Ramsey Lewis. It was just that sound, especially with Earth, Wind and Fire. They had a huge band, but essentially, all the members of the band played an instrument. You don’t have that nowadays.”
In a world full of music that has an almost pre-fabricated sound, the musician chose to continue to embrace his soul roots.
“Well, people tell me all the time, if you want to be successful you have to conform. I just chose not to. What’s the saying, ‘What goes around, comes around.’ It’s cyclical," notes Cooper. "It’s going to go back to where there’s going to be more improvisation. So, I’m going to say what I’m doing, what I was brought up on, I think that at some point is going to actually come back around.”
Patrick Cooper, who moved to the Washington, DC area from Portland, Oregon 11 years ago, is enjoying steady work at different venues in and around the region with his group, the Secret Society Band.
For more on Patrick and his new album The Way It Used To Be, visit www.pcoopjazz.com.