Reminiscent of a time when music expressed raw emotion and exposed the soul, Patrick Cooper’s The Way It Used To Be is a treat not to be missed. The album, released on July 12, boasts eight cuts of smooth jazz and funk that at times playfully intertwine, mesmerizing listeners to the very last note.

“The ‘70s really influenced me …George Duke, Bobby Lyle, Earth, Wind and Fire…I wanted to go back,” Cooper said in a phone interview. “It is definitely a throwback.”

The title track “The Way It Used To Be,” coupled with the opening number “Struttin’” are key to the Cooper sound that is too infectious to simply sit through – regardless of age or musical preference. “There are complex rhythms, but the album is an easy listen with R&B that brings you into the fold,” said Cooper for younger audiences who are cautious about stepping into the jazz genre.

Hailing from Portland, Ore., the master musician was first exposed to music from the pews of his local church. Cooper’s talent didn’t go unnoticed for long. Before the young artiste could break out of his late teens he was the official music director, mastering the keys as head organist and pianist. By the age of 21, Cooper was the co-founder of the popular Portland jazz band, N-Touch, and in 2000 he made the bold move to Washington, D.C., which would have a major impact on his style and approach to writing and producing music.

“There is a drastic difference between East and West . West is a little more laid back; East coast is in your face. Combining the two creates the perfect combination,” said Cooper, who finds the faultless balance between the two techniques.

As writer, producer and lead musician of the album, Cooper has the kind of creative control over his projects that other musicians can only dream about. And while the musical genius may not be able to pick a favorite area of his many talents, they all show through equally while allowing audiences to truly experience The Way It Used to Be.

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer