(All Album Reviews by Windhawk)
(originally written for www.prog4you.com)
Live in Atlanta is the third release by Georgia-based Cooper Tisdale, and his first live album. And it seems that Cooper Tisdale is an undeservedly well-kept secret as well, judged by this release.
Cooper Tisdale and his friends play a type of music that is really hard to categorize on this release. His backing band is clearly familiar with jazz and fusion, as keyboards, bass and drums often lay down a foundation easily recognizable by jazz and fusion aficionados. Cooper Tisdale himself seems to have more inspirations from blues and rock though, with a guitar sound often reminding me of Robin Trower.
Blended together we get a mix of often cool, relaxing and interesting songs, with soundscapes warm and inviting. Most of the tracks here are instrumental, and the bluesy guitar playing over a fusion-tinged musical backdrop is much more inviting than what it may sound like from description alone. Also worth mentioning is the piano-driven tracks here, played with an intelligence, a creativity and a drive Elton John and Billy Joel haven't had for ages and eons.
All in all, the best category for this release is fusion I believe - but the songs and the soundscapes here separates this release from other fusion releases; as this music is more accessible to a general audience than most fusion releases.
As for the songs on this album; they are of a general high quality. Cooper Tisdale is a talented songwriter, and even in the most fusion-sounding songs here there's a momentum and drive I have seldom heard in other fusion releases; but even so the tracks here manage to have individual identities and moods; and even in the more energetic solo parts of songs the soundscape remains warm and inviting.
This is a release I will recommend checking out. In my opinion this is a release that should appeal to a quite large audience, and Cooper Tisdale sure as hell deserves to be better known than what he is today.
Recommended tracks: "Fireman Bill", "Doo Dad", "You", "Freedom".
My rating: 77/100