Todd Coolman, one of the more in demand musicians in New York, has released an innovative new CD, Perfect Strangers.
The Bassist and Director of Jazz Studies at Purchase College reached out to largely unknown musicians for original compositions through his internet-based "Learning Community" site. He also invited colleagues who are top New York jazz musicians to participate. Their role was to collaborate in the creative process and add their own interpretations to this original music.
The composers who participated ranged in age from 17 to 67 and for the most part they were "perfect strangers." Seven works were selected for the album which took a year to produce. Coolman's quintet rose to the occasion and relished the challenge of interpreting music, never before heard or seen by them and introducing it to a wide audience.
Todd Coolman purposely put himself in unfamiliar musical territory "It is the surest way to grow musically, in my view," he said.
The CD also features Eric Alexander on tenor saxophone, Brian Lynch on trumpet, Jim McNeely on piano, and John Riley on drums.
The seven featured composers are Evan Cobb, Bill Stevens, Dana Malseptic, Mark Saltman, Erica Seguine, Mike Williamson, and Ryan Truesdell.
The album was produced by Jon Faddis and is a fan-funded ArtistShare project. This is Coolman's third album as leader.
According to Edward Bianco in All About Jazz, "Perfect Strangers is an exciting introduction to wonderful contemporary modern jazz that may never have been heard were it not for the creative process that was brought to light. Coolman's quintet of renowned musicians embarks into unfamiliar territory and provides a glimpse of the unknown musical talent that exists by performing music that deserves to be heard."