Celebrating seven years together, Time and Time Again is the fourth release by The Cookers since the group's recording debut, Warriors (Jazz Legacy Productions, 2010). The band's all-star lineup, who first rose to prominence in the late '60s and early '70s, was initially formed by trumpet player David Weiss, who also serves as musical director. In addition to Weiss, the septet features the muscular frontline of trumpeter Eddie Henderson, tenor saxophonist Billy Harper and alto saxophonist Donald Harrison (replacing Craig Handy), with pianist George Cables, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Billy Hart manning the blue chip rhythm section.
If any single thing could be said about Magic Slim & The Teardrops, the watchword that prevails is consistency. Over eight CDs on the German Wolf label and the same total for Blind Pig Records – compilations notwithstanding – this group not only delivers time and time again with their electric contemporary urban blues, but continually reminds us of the forefathers that preceded them in making Chicago a focal point for this music. From classics by Elmore James, Roosevelt Sykes, Robert Nighthawk, J.B. Hutto, Clay Hammond, and Little Milton, Slim and the band put their foot to the wood and never let up on the gas, steaming through these classic blues songs with a rock & roll attitude. Three originals by Slim also reflect the same no-nonsense posture, but add updated, doubting Thomas inquiries, as on the shuffle rocker "Do You Mean It?," "Shame," and the sly Chi-Town blues of "Treat Me the Way You Do." While the smart, well-chosen material is the key to their success, it's how they play with utter confidence, energy, passion, and drive that sets this band apart from all others.