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Wednesday, June 08, 2022
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.
O's Place Jazz Magazine
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
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
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 their
solos. 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 PERCUSSIVE NOTES VOL.57, No. 2 – May, 2019 ” - Jeff W. Johnson
— PERCUSSIVE NOTES
“ Reviews Peter Kogan: The Green Album by George W. Harris • May 2, 2019 • 0 Comments 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
“ Kogan, Peter: The Green Album Drumming master Peter Kogan has been around now for decades. He joined the Cleveland Orchestra in 1969 and in 1972 joined the Pittsburgh Symphony. In the late ‘70s Kogan moved to New York City where he worked as a session musician for six years. This was followed by stints with the Honolulu Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra. It wasn’t until 2013 he released his first album titled Cornucopia followed by Some Monster Wonderthing in 2015. His latest disc is titled The Green Album and features fifteen players, all top notch musicians. Modern melodic jazz does not get much better than this. The disc covers eleven tracks, including three covers and starts with the superb “MLW Blues Evolution”. Piano and congas begin the piece before the full band lays down a great groove. The rhythm section of Kogan and Jeff Bailey on bass sets the pace as the trumpet, trombone and sax trade solos. With “Slippery Slope”, written in response to the 2016 US election, discordant rhythms and heavy drums make way for an almost frenzied approach with highlight reel trumpet, saxophone, piano, drums and bass. Again, the musicianship is just so good. The jazzy guitar runs should also be mentioned. With the Gillespie penned “Con Alma”, Kogan and Bailey display a fluid synchronicity as some wonderful solos on trumpet and tenor sax, courtesy of Jake Baldwin and Pete Whitman respectively along with Phil Aaron’s thoughtful piano work fill out the piece. The playful cover of Charlie Parker’s “My Little Suede Shoes” is more highlight material. The colourful tenor sax and trumpet add a feeling of pure joy. The Green Album is without a doubt a masterful work, chock full of great melodies, arrangements and ensemble playing. Absolutely stunning. Track Listing: 1. MLW Blues Evolution (7:28) 2. Slippery Slope (6:06) 3. Miles Back (6:29) 4. Con Alma (6:48) 5. My Little Suede Shoes (4:24) 6. The Mooche (7:19) 7. Fools Blues (4:46) 8. Don’t Stop Lovin’ Me Babe (4:16) 9. Moose The Mooche (4:57) 10. Honolulu (Green Theme Song) (4:54) 11. El Rancho (8:15) Added: April 9th 2019Reviewer: Jon NeudorfScore: Related Link: Artist's Official SiteHits: 63Language: english” - JON NEUDORF
“ PETER KOGAN [dms] has put together a wonderful CD of 7 originals and 5 jazz classics [66:06] recorded between June 2017 and August 2018 called THE GREEN ALBUM [Koganote Records 003]. The nicely paced program is presented by a pool of 15 well-voiced Minnesotan musicians. There is nothing here screaming for attention, no flaming wizardry. There is tension here, in fact, it came on the first run though listening just as I began to wonder when some break out in the music might happen. Kogan gets credit for the understatement of the whole but also the steady cross beats of sticks. Deadlines being what they are, I’ll listen to Peter Kogan’s earlier work and hopefully report back in the next Papatamus. ” - ROBERT D RUSCH
— CADENCE MAGAZINE
“ Jazz Author/Blogger www.debbieburkeauthor.com Check outGlissando - A Story of Love, Lust and Jazz at http://bit.ly/GLISSANDO and The Poconos in B Flat How has your symphony experience influenced the jazz musician you are today? I am sure there is an indirect but palpable influence. Years of playing and listening to long-form through-composed symphonic music probably influenced my compositions. Many have shapes that are not 32-bar song forms, or I’ll have a blowing section that uses the material (the harmony) of the tune but not an exact repetition of the chords of the head. I try to follow wherever the material leads me. When it does come out as a standard form, like my tune “Miles Back” from “The Green Album” I’m surprised and delighted! I love the blues and had the joy of playing with some of the old – timers like Lightnin’ Hopkins and Honeyboy Edwards. So my tune – FOOLS BLUES – is a standard 12-bar form. On the other hand, the opening tune – “BMW Blues Evolution” – is an expansion of blues form and is 26 bars long. As far as playing the drums goes, my years in the orchestra gave me a sense of how the great composers used the percussion instruments as colors to enhance the melodic and harmonic materials, and the timpani as a more structural emphasis – almost always reinforcing the big cadences like V – I [ like G7 – C]. But time-keeping is still the foundation, of course! Can you imagine a place for the timpani in a jazz ensemble? Not really – although Elvin Jones used it wonderfully. I have yet to conceive of a place for it in my music. Why have you made percussion your primary instrument? Love of rhythm even though I’m a terrible dancer. Good groove is an incredible high. Enhancing the melodic with non-pitch sonority and drive. I love the tactile feel of the sticks on the drum. (I could never play guitar because I don’t enjoy plucking the strings!) What is the inspiration behind “The Green Album” and what does the name refer to? In some ways the album is a completion of a mixture of new material and older pieces that never came to light when I was in my 30’s, an end piece to a trilogy that began with my earlier albums “Cornucopia” and “Some Monsterful Wonderthing.” Those had a blue and a red cover, so I thought this one should feature green – I’m not being completely facetious! The tune “Honolulu” is named for where it was written and was originally titled “Evergreen” – meaning music is always freshly renewing…that’s the theme. What’s the most interesting percussion instrument or accessory you regularly use? I’m using a standard kit with lots of cymbals, but I have some really old red wooden temple blocks I use on Duke Ellington’s “The Mooche.” How long was this album in the making? The first tracks were recorded in May of 2017 and the last track was recorded August 1, 2018. Many of the tunes were written or arranged and tried out in the previous few years. What was the highlight of producing it? Listening back to the takes and admiring the work of the 15 musicians who participated in the project. Do the songs interrelate- tell a story- or are they discrete entities? There are some songs related to specific events. For example, the tunes “Slippery Slope” and “Miles Back” were both written very quickly just after the 2016 election and reflect my feelings at the time. “Honolulu” was written during a break from my years as a drummer in NYC when I worked with the Honolulu Symphony for a few months. Some tribute tunes relate to great jazz masters like “Fools Blues” [Monk and Wayne Shorter] and “MLW Blues Evolution” inspired by Mary Lou Williams, and the tune” El Rancho” might just as well have been called “Spaghetti Western”! “Don’t Stop Lovin’ Me Babe” was my immediate idea for a lyric to go with the “hook” [melody] in that tune, and of course it is dedicated to my wife Julia. This is the first time I have recorded cover tunes so I picked four contrasting ones from the “canon” all of which have contrasting grooves – which is part of the album concept as well. How did you choose the musicians for it? Fortunately there are great talents here in Minneapolis/St Paul. I had a bunch of players working in my Quintet and Septet to draw from and others I could pick and choose from for specific tunes. Where did you debut this music? Most of the tunes were played by my band at venues such as The Black Dog in St. Paul and Jazz Central Studios in Minneapolis. The first of two CD release gigs was at the Icehouse in Minneapolis this past November, followed by one at The Black Dog in January. What’s the biggest challenge for a small ensemble jazz musician today? Steady work so you can keep the group together for everyone to get really comfortable with the material. Players have to take work where they can get it to survive, and that means people aren’t always playing the music they love and aren’t available when you need them. But I’ve been lucky to have great subs! What do you like most about the Twin Cities’ jazz scene? Great talent and a wonderful camaraderie among the musicians. There is also a remarkable range of styles within the jazz community here. When did you form your own label “Koganote”? I formed the label for my first album, “Cornucopia.” It’s a salute to BlueNote records of course, and as my own label I can put out anything I want. Favorite melancholy jazz tune? Probably “Stella By Starlight,” “Blue in Green,” “Nardis” and my own [shamelessly] “Miles Back.” What would be your dream collaboration? I’m between dreams at the moment. Other comments? Just that I’m so glad you are interested in my music! For more information, visit www.peterkoganmusic.com. ” - Debbie Burke