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Tom Cohen - My Take (Versa Music)

23 August 2021

Drummer Tom Cohen has played nearly every kind of music imaginable as a session musician. But when given his druthers, the Philadelphia sticksman is partial to jazz. My Take features him in an organ trio setting, joined primarily by B-3 master Joey DeFrancesco and either Tim Warfield or Ralph Bowen on saxophone.

The Cohen/DeFrancesco/Warfield trio takes on Vincent Youmans’ standard “Without a Song,” injecting heavy soul into its bluesy shuffle. Switching out Warfield with Bowen leads to the high energy hard bop of Sonny Stitt’s “The Eternal Triangle,” letting the horn wielder burn up the melody. Bowen also lays down some soulful sax on Wayne Shorter’s “Lost,” one of the legend’s least-covered but most harmonious tunes. The DeFrancesco/Warfield pairing lights up opening cut “Minority,” composed by Gigi Gryce, on which Cohen swings so hard he goes past the fences and into the parking lot. Cohen also pairs with two of his Philly compadres, guitarist Steve Giordano and organist Dave Posmonteir, on a seriously groovy version of Benny Golson’s “Along Came Betty.”

One might think this would be a record filled with drum solos, but Cohen keeps those breaks rare, instead concentrating on leading the band by driving the rhythms. Even without his top shelf collaborators, his lively cymbal work and high voltage rolls would make it impossible for any of these performances to lose vigor. It’s also very obvious that everyone on this date is having a great time, making My Take a blast to hear.