Praised for his “open-time creativity and melodic sense” (Gapplegate Music Reviews), drummer Jeff Cosgrove has pursued a unique improvisational path with varied ensembles, including a trio with Matthew Shipp and William Parker (Alternating Current), another with Frank Kimbrough and Martin Wind (Conversations with Owls), and a quartet playing repertory by the late Paul Motian (Motian Sickness). Projects are also ongoing with Shipp and Mat Maneri, Scott Robinson and Ken Filiano, and rising tenor saxophone star Noah Preminger.
Growing up in the Washington, D.C. area, Cosgrove developed a wide range of musical interests that continue to inform his output. He has worked extensively with blues and rock bands and singer-songwriters, citing B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, The Grateful Dead, Wilco, Andrew Bird, Jimi Hendrix, Tom Waits and Phish as pivotal influences. His role models in jazz are Motian, Elvin Jones, Joe Chambers, Ben Riley and Roy Haynes. He’s also been fortunate to study with Andrew Cyrille, Matt Wilson, Joe Hunt (Bill Evans), Tony Martucci (Mose Allison/James Moody) and Mike Shepherd (Maynard Ferguson/U.S. Navy Commodores/Barney Kessel).
While Cosgrove has ample experience playing beat-driven music with strict time, he is drawn toward abstraction in his own work, summoning colors and textures on the drum kit, listening deeply to his colleagues as the music flows and evolves. As The Washington Post put it: “Cosgrove’s drumming doesn’t provide the music with an engine so much as a lighthouse.” According to the Frederick News-Post, “Cosgrove reaches so far beyond the parameters of mere beats and time signatures and groove that calling him a drummer is barely the beginning.”
Cosgrove has never lived in New York or any other big music hub, preferring to station himself in rural areas — something that he feels has affected his musical outlook and approach. For 18 years he lived in Shepherdstown, a town of 2,000 in the eastern corner of West Virginia. He currently resides in the slightly larger Middletown, Maryland.
Conversations with Owls
“Drummer Jeff Cosgrove’s Conversations with Owls is an ode to twilight and dark coming on dawn, a percussively melodic tone poem — thanks also to the sensitivity of pianist Frank Kimbrough and the sturdiness of bassist Martin Wind — in which the musicians’ curiosity, insight, originality and interactions address silence and secrets, arriving at unusual beauty.” – Howard Mandel, Jazz Journalist Association + DownBeat
“If Cyrille, Taylor, Motian and their ilk have laid the foundations for more than one generation that followed in their wake, then Cosgrove, Shipp and Parker with their powerful, open dialogue are building bridges that will span the years to reach generations to come. ” – Ian Patterson, All About Jazz
Motian Sickness – The Music of Paul Motian
“It was not intended but turned out to be one of the best tributes to our century’s most outstanding drummer/composer, the late Paul Motian. His genuine spirit is deeply reflected in their music.” – Kenny Inaoka, JAZZ TOKYO
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