Patrick Cooper — The Way It Used to Be

June 26, 2011

The Way It Used To Be, the sophomore release from keyboardist Patrick Cooper (due for release on July 12) is fanciful, silky, and radiant with all the charm of what we have come to expect from the above average newer talent emerging these days. His 2007 debut, That Day, was a subtle charmer and certainly a door opener for better things to come.

Cooper is joined here on a couple of tracks by bassist David Dyson and saxman Phillip “Doc” Martin, and they prove to be great contributors, of course.  The tracks here, all written by Cooper, are vibrant and contain a lot of that R&B/jazz/funk mix he concocted on his debut but with more muster.  The first was a “let’s get acquainted” album. Well, this one says ”We’re movin’ right along because there’s a lot more where that came from.”

It’s clear that Cooper means business as he opens with the stomper called “Struttin’,” a tune guaranteed to get the blood rushing to your groove vein. “Come Sunday” shaves off a bit of the intensity and tempo and eases you into a softer state, as does track 3’s “Next 2 U,” a melodic and catchy tune with some nifty scatting tossed in along with Cooper’s adept tickling of the ivories.

It’s obviously Cooper’s intention to capture in theme the good ol’ days as his CD artwork (inside and out) includes such images as that of one of those beautiful vintage retro mics, as well as pictures of Elvis Presley and Ray Charles. In the title track, you can hear where he’s subtly trying to take us, even though the music easily transcends time.

The mid-tempo “Side Steppin’” gets the head-boppin’ back in gear.  That’s quickly followed by the soulful “Denise,” and romance begins again with the help of the sax of Bryan Mills and, of course, Cooper’s teasing runs. The funkilicious “It’s OK to Move” closes the project in sassy fashion.

All in all, a solid project deserving of a place in your collection. Patrick Cooper is not one to overlook, and The Way It Used To Be serves as more than just a reminiscent trip down memory lane…much more. – Ronald Jackson