Mike Kocour's careful yet fearless choice of notes and intervals come from the deepest grotto of his heart...a breath of fresh air in an asphyxiating world. Listen to him - as I do.
Pianist Michael Kocour brings many gifts to this solo piano recording of gems from the Great American Songbook: melodic creativity, harmonic acuity, swinging rhythmic gait, supple technique, an elegant touch, and bell-like tone, ebullient spirit and refined taste. But lording over all these qualities is this meta truth: Kocour is a compelling storyteller whose playing reaches across the footlights, pulling listeners inside the music where magic happens on the fly. Each improvisation here reveals the cohesive scaffolding and clarity of a tightly constructed short story - while the natural flow of Kocour's phrasing contains myriad unexpected details that suggest subtle plot twists. Blink and you'll miss them.
1. East Of The Sun | Brooks Bowman 5:45
2. I've Got A Right To Sing The Blues | Harold Arlen 4:01
3. She's Funny That Way | Neil Moret 5:56
4. Sweet Lorraine | Cliff Burwell 6:00
5. Who Cares? | George Gershwin 4:35
6. Just One Of Those Things | Cole Porter 4:07
7. Come Rain Or Come Shine | Harold Arlen 3:53
8. I'm Coming Virginia | Donald Heywood 3:12
9. Star Dust | Hoagy Carmichael 5:22
10. I Can't Stop Loving You | Don Gibson 3:58
Michael Kocour - piano
Produced by Michael Kocour
Recorded by Michael Kocour at Jazz Immersion Mesa, AZ
(1, 3, 5, 7, 9) recorded June, 2018. (2, 4, 6, 8, 10) recorded in June, 2014.
Mixed by Clarke Rigsby at Tempest Recording, Tempe AZ
Mastered by Nathan James at Vault Mastering Studios Inc., Phoenix, AZ
Photography by Heather Landes
Cover design & layout by John Bishop
All About Jazz (Dan Bilawsky)
The ease of expression with which pianist Michael Kocour unspools standards tends to belie the greatness of his playing. With extreme comfort and control he lays out one beautiful performance after another, all the while presenting a fine balance between technical accomplishment and creative bent. East Of The Sun—the sixth leader (or co-leade ...
All About Jazz (David A. Orthmann)
4-STARS Michael Kocour's solo piano recital is comprised of great American songs, most of which were popular in the early-to-mid twentieth century. There's nothing dated or anachronistic about the ways in which he handles the material. Throughout the record's ten tracks, Kocour establishes a state of equilibrium between a fealty to traditional son ...
Downbeat (Ed Enright)
Pianist Michael Kocour brings formidable technique and exquisite touch to 10 Great American Songbook standards on East Of The Sun, his third solo outing. Performed on a refurbished 1975 Steinway model B grand in a small studio with no added reverb, the album has an intimate, straightforward vibe that recalls classic solo piano recordings by the ...
WTJU (Dave Rogers)
Michael Kocour is an Associate Professor and the Director of Jazz Studies at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as "one of the most sophisticated pianists in jazz," Kocour has performed at venues around the world and has been a guest on Marian McPartland's internationally syndicated NPR program "Piano Jazz." A ...
Midwest Record (Chris Spector)
There's an army of saloon piano players out there that are perfectly enjoyable, but Kocour is one of those one in a hundred kind of players ala Dave McKenna that just makes you go ‘man, what are you doing here?' if you should happen to stumble upon him by accident. A solo piano set of standards from jazz, pop and country---this is just one of tho ...