Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Michael Cooke
Composer, multi-reeds : flute, saxes, bass clarinet, and bassoon
The multi-instrumentalist Michael Cooke is a composer of jazz and classical music. This two-time Emmy and Louis Armstrong Jazz Award winner plays a variety of instruments: you can hear him on soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones, flute, soprano and bass clarinets, bassoon and percussion. A cum laude graduate with a music degree from the University of North Texas, he had many different areas of study; jazz, ethnomusicology, music history, theory and of course composition. In 1991 Michael began his professional orchestral career performing in many north Texas area symphonies. Michael has played in Europe, Mexico, and all over the United States. Cimarron Music Press began published many of Michael’s compositions in 1994. After relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area, he has been exploring new paths in improvised and composed music, mixing a variety of styles and techniques that draw upon the creative energy of a multicultural experience, both in and out of America. In 1999, Michael started a jazz label called Black Hat Records and is currently on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra. The San Francisco Beacon describes Michael's music as “flowing out color and tone with a feeling I haven’t heard in quite a while. Michael plays with such dimension and flavor that it sets (his) sound apart from the rest.” Uncompromising, fiery, complex, passionate, and cathartic is how the All Music Guide labeled Michael’s playing on Searching by Cooke Quartet, Statements by Michael Cooke and The Is by CKW Trio. His latest release, An Indefinite Suspension of The Possible, is an unusual mixture of woodwinds, trombone, cello, koto and percussion, creating a distinct synergy in improvised music that has previously been untapped.
CKW Trio plays Augmented live at The Jazz House
Open Ended by Michael Cooke is a very versatile work that is composed live before your eyes and ears. Based on Rova‘s Radar techniques, Open Ended is less of a composition and more of a color or tool palette. It is an ever-growing collection of rules and games for the performers that are triggered by hand signals by the conductor/composer. The conductor/composer then composes the piece live using these hand signals to guide the performers. The ability to compose with what happens in the moment, in real time, is what is required to produce this piece. This similar to the “Soundpainting” language was created by Walter Thompson in Woodstock, New York in 1974. Open Ended has no set instrumentation and can be played by any number of performers. It also has no set length; the piece could last 5 minutes or 24 hours.
CDs on which Michael Cooke appears:
Cooke Quintet an indefinite suspension of the possible
Artist: Cooke Quintet
Title: an indefinite suspension of the possible
Label: Black Hat Records BH-1004
Label page on this site: Black Hat Records
Black Hat Records BH-1004
CKW Trio The Is
Artist: CKW Trio
Title: The Is
Label: Black Hat Records BH-1003
Label page on this site: Black Hat Records
Black Hat Records BH-1003
Moe! Staiano's MOE!KESTRA! Two Forms of Multitudes: Conducted Improvisations
Artist: Moe! Staiano's MOE!KESTRA!
Title: Two Forms of Multitudes: Conducted Improvisations
Label: Pax Recordings PR90261
Label page on this site: Pax Recordings
Pax Recordings PR90261
Michael Cooke Statements
Artist: Michael Cooke
Title: Statements
Label: Black Hat Records BH-1002
Label page on this site: Black Hat Records
Black Hat Records BH-1002
Cooke Quartet Searching
Artist: Cooke Quartet
Title: Searching
Label: Black Hat Records BH-1001
Label page on this site: Black Hat Records
Black Hat Records BH-1001