Follow the ideas that challenge you most and allow the music to inspire your better emotions.-Todd Cochran
TODD COCHRAN –
PIANIST, COMPOSER, FILM COMPOSER, ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN, PRODUCER
Along with extensive formal training and American jazz associations, Todd Cochran’s music incorporates diverse musical references from the traditions of the African and Asian diaspora, global pop and contemporary art music culture. Born in San Francisco, raised in a home environment of classical music, jazz, and an atmosphere of genuine appreciation for the arts, Todd began fingering melodies on the piano at age 3. His formal musical education was through Trinity College of Music, London. As a result of his exceptional talent and many opportunities to collaborate with successful, driven and highly gifted artists, an essential part of his sui generis approach to music was able to mature.
Todd has always been passionate about live performance, and garnering attention at a young age his affiliation with legendary musicians began when he was 17, playing and recording with, or writing for John Handy, Bobby Hutcherson (BLUE NOTE RECORDS), and Rashaan Roland Kirk. Early in Todd’s career SANTANA re-recorded a composition from Todd’s first jazz solo album “Worlds Around The Sun” (FANTASY/PRESTIGE). This became a pathway into the edgy world of pop music for Todd, and led to his forming the innovative rock/R&B band AUTOMATIC MAN (ISLAND RECORDS) with drummer Michael Shrieve.
Living in London in the late 70s – early 80s, with his band AUTOMATIC MAN marked Todd’s expatriate period and expanded his feelings about jazz and third-stream stylings, as this new blues based, highly emotional music with its electronically and vocally articulated message became an important platform for Todd’s professional reputation. Todd went on to a long professional association with Peter Gabriel, appearing and recording with numerous English rock artists, including Phil Collins of Genesis, Bill Bruford of Yes, Jim Calpaldi of Traffic.
Todd has influenced artists through the many years he served as a pianist, producer, arranger, composer, electronic musician. Included in his years of experience are his #1 solo jazz album, Worlds Around the Sun which is currently being digitally remastered for CD re-release in early 2014. His list of collaborations includes Joan Armatrading – for whom he arranged and recorded – composing hits for Grover Washington Jr., composing and producing trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. Stanley Clarke, Stewart Copeland, and Hubert Laws are also amongst his lengthy professional partnerships. Included in his bonafides are some 500 recordings with artists Herbie Hancock, Maya Angelou, George Benson, Stan Getz, Maynard Ferguson, Stanley Turrentine, Bennie Maupin, Julian Priester, Arthur Blythe, The Crusaders, Natalie Cole, Burt Bacharach, Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck, Carl Palmer, Aretha Franklin, and many others.
Visual Music, Live Performance, Composing Commissions, 21st Century Music
Noted for having a visual dimension to his music, the years spent exploring the boundaries and overlapping spaces of normally isolated musical idioms led to opportunities to write for motion pictures.
“Instead of just closing your eyes, touching the piano keys and following the inspiration, with film you write with your eyes open.” _Todd Cochran
Todd is a talented film composer working in both the big screen and television. Highlights include arranging for the movie, The Hurricane, composer for Keep the Faith, Baby, Woman Thou Art Loosed, and many others. While seeking the purest form of authenticity, the artist who works in multiple genres places themselves in the “crosswinds.”
“We do not actually see the wind, only where it’s been…”_Todd Cochran
The wider the range of musical influences, the more open the creative mind becomes. And the pathways of this pursuit lead to a heightened empathy for culture, style and tastes. To absorb the experience of these variations is to understand a compassionate, beautiful, expressive language. It is within this language that one eventually gains access and the keys that open the magic chest of ideas that inspire the higher potentials of humankind.
As a conceptual artist Todd in his current work finds the diversity of today’s musical climate particularly invigorating. The context of our vividly changing social landscape suggests a time of empowerment for new voices and concepts of thinking and being. Taking these ideas and expressing them in an accessible musical language is at the core of Todd Cochran’s pursuits. He has shared his philosophies about the music making process in his published articles and essays. Notably, “Music As An Instrument Of Peace.”
As a contemporary artist, Todd finds the context of our vividly changing social landscape to be a time of empowerment for new voices and concepts of thinking and being. Thus, the current musical climate is particularly invigorating as he embarks upon creating musical art that embodies the fascinating diversity of the experience of an accelerated interconnected world.
Transitions or transitioning can occur in a myriad of ways. One might ask, is his work to date a single story or is it a combination of many stories? Moving outside the circle of the familiar enriches and expands, while one who allows himself or herself to be contained eventually stagnates. Todd throughout his creative life has walked along the borders, moving along the fringe; sometimes disappearing momentarily in abstract pursuit only to return with a vitalized excitement about a fresh musical possibility or discovery. Playing different roles – a pianist, an electronic musician, a sideman, a band member, a bandleader, a composer, a lecturer and published author of journalistic pieces and essays, a film composer – has given him a deeper understanding of the nature of art and its complexities. With his multifaceted perspectives the music Todd now envisions and creates resonates with empathy across cultural lines and embraces the human experience as narrative in the world of sound.
Untying From The Past, Imagining The Future
“After several years of respite from the music world, I’m now returning with fresh ideas and purpose. And I feel very fortunate to have been able to take this break to reflect on my musical journey and humanity. Stepping away from the mode of constant output has allowed me to grow into an updated philosophy, to research other musical forms, to explore without constraints, and compose freely. Even though I haven’t been visible for a while a good amount of invaluable self-reflecting and inside searching has occurred and is reflected in the range of music I’ve created during this period. Possibly the greatest benefit of this personal journey is that it’s given me the stretch to let go of the old music business baggage – that is, how it used to be done – and enter the new paradigm of communicating with the music’s natural audience.”
_ Todd Cochran