Press and Reviews
Review from Take Effect Reviews of
"Just Before Midnight"
Just Before Midnight
Listen to Just Before Midnight
The veteran drummer and band leader Peter Kogan brings along some excellent help here, where a few different line ups accompany him across 9 originals that cover much territory in the area of jazz sounds.
“Pow, Pow, Pow, Pow- Yeah!” gets our attention immediately with its firm drumming and bright brass that moves at a frisky pace and flows with a soulful quality, and “Just Before Midnight (Etude #3)” follows with a calm spirit, where intimate keys lead right into energetic brass, furious drumming and a very adventurous, dreamy delivery.
In the middle, “Isle Of Kai” uses swirling guitar strategically in the very warm and reflective tone, while ”…And Another Thing (Etude #1)” flows with rich textures of agile and soaring, timeless jazz qualities.
Elsewhere, “The Winter Of Our Discontent (Etude #2)” benefits much from the bouncy bass work and glowing brass, and “Song Without A Word” exits the listen with Dominic Cheli on solo piano for a gorgeous and stirring finish.
A thriving listen with no lack of solos from Kogan, as well as from Jake Baldwin’s trumpet and Pete Whitman’s tenor sax, Just Before Midnight was rehearsed and performed outdoors during the pandemic and spans many reactions including resistance, compassion and reassurance. Kogan’s history in blues and rock certainly are in tact across the entire affair, too, which brings some much appreciated diversity.
Travels well with: Randy Napoleon- Puppets; Ben Markley Big Band- Ari’s Funhouse
PETER KOGAN – “JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT” – Koganote Records
Peter Kogan, drums/composer; Abebi Stafford & Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln & Kameron Markworth, bass; Geoff LeCrone, guitar; Jake Baldwin & Mitch Van Laar, trumpet; Pete Whitman, tenor saxophone; Nick Syman, trombone. Dominic Cheli, solo piano on track #9.
Right out the gate, Peter Kogan races onto the scene with a hard-hitting drum solo that introduces us to a song he calls, “Pow, Pow, Pow, Pow – Yeah!” This composition swings hard and has a memorable melody that’s presented by the horns after several bars of a power-packed drum solo. It’s an exciting arrangement for this quintet to play, generously spotlighting each player, starting with Kogan’s percussive power. Pete Whitman, on tenor saxophone, blends beautifully with trumpeter Jake Baldwin. Both offer rich solo excursions that represent Straight-ahead jazz at its best. Abebi Stafford is dynamic on piano and Charlie Lincoln holds the rhythm section in a tight grip with his walking bass lines. If you love 1950 and 1960 jazz the way I do, this song turns back time in a wonderful way. The title tune follows, “Just Before Midnight (Etude #3).” It’s introduced by Will Kjeer on piano, teasing us with chord changes that accentuate unexpected intervals. They lead us to an up-tempo speed. This racing tempo challenges Kogan’s septet to bring their very best to the party, and they do. Peter Kogan propels them forward with busy sticks and appropriate cymbal crashes.
During this production, you will experience Peter Kogan in various group situations. He opens with a quintet, moves to a septet-setting, and then to a quartet. There is also a sextet performance and even a solo piano addition, “Song Without a Word” interpreting Kogan’s original song and played by Dominic Cheli. Peter Kogan intentionally created different groups of musicians to express the best of his original compositions. For example, he reverts to a quartet to play his ode to John Coltrane that’s named, “Owed to J.C.” On this arrangement, Kogan plays with the tempo to explore the pulse of the tune, employing a 15/8, Afro-Cuban rhythm during the main body of the song and during the solos. “And Another Thing (Etude #1)” is a catchy title and introduces us to a jazz waltz arrangement that allows Jake Baldwin to brightly soak up the spotlight during his trumpet solo. Peter Kogan also solos on his waltz inspired drums. Geoff LeCrone is featured on guitar during the quartet’s interpretation of “I Dream of Danny Playing Guitar.”
Kogan is a percussionist who has dabbled with various musical genres. He’s proficient playing jazz, but he also has history with rock music and the blues idiom. He’s backed up iconic blues musicians like Honeyboy Edwards, Lightin’ Hopkins and Floyd Jones. In the same breath, he can stand behind a set of timpani drums in a concert hall, and has played with symphony orchestras that include the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Honolulu Symphony. Kogan represents this type of versatility on drums. I’m also quite impressed with his composer skills. Peter Kogan has written and arranged all the songs on this album except “Hindsight” written by Cedar Walton. Employing his various group productions, Kogan introduces us to amazing musicians and a stunning number of his original compositions. To his credit, the Kogan music sounds like standard jazz tunes we should know and love."
A Jazz WordPress.com weblog
September 1, 2022
by DeeDee McNeil
Bringing you the latest news and information from the world of jazz and beyond...
Wednesday, June 08, 2022 Posted by Jazz Chill at 10:22 AM
Peter Kogan | "Just Before Midnight"
With Just Before Midnight, his fourth album since 2013, the constantly evolving and very productive drummer-composer Peter Kogan delivers another far- ranging feast of originals (and a knowing arrangement of Cedar Walton’s classic Hindsight). All the qualities that made Kogan’s previous albums attractive — sophisticated-yet-accessible compositions, great players and soloists, and just enough quirkiness to make it interesting and fun — are here again, in abundance.
Kogan is the rare percussionist who has been able to travel back and forth between jazz, rock, and blues idioms and the classical world. He jobbed around New York City with jazz, rock, and blues bands (along the
way backing up blues masters Lightnin’ Hopkins, Floyd Jones, and Honeyboy Edwards, and gigging with the Larry Elgart Orchestra) but could also stand behind a set of timpani in a concert hall with a major symphony orchestra. This kind of versatility — and crossover — is quite exceptional for a percussionist.
Kogan did stints with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the Honolulu Symphony before landing a spot with the highly esteemed and Grammy-winning Minnesota Orchestra, where he served as principal timpanist for 29 years. But classical training and employment never dimmed his love of jazz, which reaches back to his childhood. This latest chapter in Kogan’s musical career — as a jazz drummer and bandleader — brings him full circle, back to the music that originally inspired him to play the drums.
On this recording, Kogan uses groups of varying sizes, from a quartet up to a septet (he dubs the seven-piece group his “Monsterful Wonderband”) to give voice to his finely conceived compositions. His band has also become something of an incubator for young talent. For the most part, the crew on this CD definitely skews younger, but these musicians handle the challenging material with confident mastery.
Remember the names — I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about these outstanding musicians in the future, if you haven’t already.
One thing to understand about this record:
Each of these songs is a fully realized composition that takes you on a little trip, through changing moods and feelings, “sights” and sounds. While there are some stylistic nods to classic Blue Note and Impulse recordings of the 1960s, Kogan never falls back on the easy but tired formula of “Song/Bunch of solos over the song’s chord progression/Song once more and out.” More like a series of trips to a wide variety of destinations. Definitely worth taking the whole tour!
Posted by Jazz Chill at 10:22 AM
O's Place Jazz Magazine 28.2 Summer 2022 - Page1.
P.O. Box 38430
Charlotte, NC 28278
Published by: D. Oscar Groomes $12 Summer 2022, Issue 28.2
Just Before Midnight
Peter Kogan is a rather complete drummer playing rock, jazz
and in the symphony. He also composes, arranges and produces
his work as on his latest, Just Before Midnight. The music is
performed in multiple configurations ranging from a septet
to solo piano featuring Dominic Cheli on “Song Without a
Word”. “Hindsight” is a fine tribute to the late Cedar Walton.
We also enjoyed “Owed To” John Coltrane and the tropical
flair of “Isle of Kai”
My guest this week on The Drum Shuffle podcast is the great Peter Kogan. Peter has a brilliant new record out this week, "Just Before Midnight." We discuss in detail the writing and recording process for the album. Peter's playing is inspired, his writing is honest, and the band sounds simply incredible. Listen now at www.thedrumshuffle.com #podcast #thedrumshuffle #drumfam #peterkogan
The Drum Shuffle
Insights, perspectives and conversations for drummers...
JAZZ & BLUES REPORT
July • August 2022 • Issue 403
PETER KOGAN Just Before Midnight
The publicity for this release notes that Peter Kogan is a symphonic timpanist, jazz drummer, rock drummer, composer, arranger, and producer who composed all but one of the compositions on “Just Before Midnight.” Classically trained, he was a member of the Cleveland Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony before his passion for jazz and blues led him to New York. In New York, he backed up blues legends Lightnin’ Hopkins, HoneyBoy Edwards, and Jimmy Whitherspoon, groups such as the Drifters and the Crystals, and rock and roll legend Bo Diddley. He also performed with the Larry Elgar big band and wrote for and performed with the fusion band Scratch n’ Sniff. He then had stints with the Honolulu I have previously described a Steve Howell record- Symphony and then the Minnesota Orchestra. Among ing as “a delightful, congenial mix of folk, country the musicians accompanying Kogan are Jake Baldwin and blues that will appeal to a wide range of roots on trumpet, Pete Whitman, tenor sax, Dominic Cheli, piano, Abebi Stafford on piano, Nick Syman, trombone, Pete Whitman, sax, Mitch Van Laar, trumpet, Will Kjeer, piano, Charlie Lincoln, bass, Geoff LeCrone guitar, and California blues retrospectively. Another instrumental, Kameron Markworth, bass.
The album core might be the hard bop of the sixties and seventies, as evident in the opening “Pow, Pow, Pow, Pow - Yeah,” with a punchy theme. Kogan starts with a drum solo with tenor saxophonist Whitman and trumpeter Jake Baldwin standing out with theirsolos. An unusual progression of augmented triads is the basis for “Just Before Midnight (Etude no. 3), with its distinctive harmonies and dynamic solos from Whitman, trombonist Syman and trumpeter Van Laar . “Ode to J.C.” is inspired by John Coltrane, particu- larly Coltrane’s “Alabama,” which was composed after the Birmingham church bombing that left four children dead. Kogan’s composition is a meditation occasioned by the murder of George Floyd, with Whitman and pianist Stafford standing out. Then there is the cheery “Isle of Kai,” co-written with guitarist Elliot Levy, evoking a breezy day on a tropical island. The Danny referred to in “I Dream of Danny Playing Guitar” is Blues-rock guitarist Danny Kalb of Blues Project fame, who is Kogan’s cousin. It has a relaxed melody that forms the basis for solos from guitarist LeCrone and pianist Kjeer in this quartet performance. Cedar Walton’s “Hindsight” is the one composition Kogan did not write. His arrangement for this heated performance frames solos by pianist Kjeer, trumpeter Van Laar, and saxophonist Pete Whitman.
The album closes with “Song Without A Word.” This is a composed piano solo played by Dominic Cheli that would be at home in a chamber music hall. It is in a different vein than the other performances on this very stimulating album of contemporary music.
"The Green Album Peter Kogan Self-Released Peter Kogan brings together some of the finest jazz musicians from Minnesota to celebrate the history of jazz and carry on the improvisational art form. The CD pays homage to Dizzy Gillespie with a rendition of “Con Alma” in an Afro-Cuban 6/8 style. Charlie Parker’s classic “My Little Suede Shoes” is presented with a calypso-inspired feel. Parker’s “Moose the Mooche” is also included, played with a New Orleans inflection. Duke Ellington’s “The Mooche” is played slower than the original, allowing the listener to truly appreciate the Cotton Club-inspired groove. Kogan is not only an arranger of these classics, he is also a skilled composer. “MLW Blues Evolution” is a mellow reworking of “Blues for Mary Lou” from his first album. “Slippery Slope” has a frantic, angrier feel in comparison to the other tunes on the album. The liner notes state that it was “composed in rapid response to the 2016 election results.” “Miles Back” is a nice ballad with tasteful brushwork by Kogan.Kogan’s other compositions include “Fool’s Blues,” a medium-tempo swing, and “Don’t Stop Loving Me Babe,” a light bossa-nova. Other tunes are not traceable to a specific style. “Honolulu Green” was inspired by mellow 1970s TV themes, while “El Ranchero” has a Latin-inspired groove. The rhythm section is cohesive while the soloists are creative and inspired. Those who appreciate Kogan’s first two albums should enjoy this latest offering." —Jeff W. Johnson PERCUSSIVENOTESVOL.57, No. 2 – May, 2019
"Drummer Peter Kogan mixes and matches hard bop ensembles of various sizes on this comfort food collection of jazz standards and originals. In a vintage quintet format, Pete Whitman’s tenor swings and Phil Aaron’s piano glides to a Blue Notey “Fools Blues” and Jake Baldwin’s muted trumpet coos on a rich “Miles Back.” Kogan gives a hip Crescent City snap for bassist Jeff Bailey on “Moos the Mooche” and bounces on “My Little Suede Shoes. Slightly larger ensembles, the band drives to Baeily’s line on a strong and muscular “Slippery Slope” while Turner is lovely on “Honolulu.” Eternal sounds for the ages." www.peterkoganmusic.com
GEORGE W. HARRIS