Nonesuch releases Sam Gendel’s COOKUP, a new album comprising interpretations of R&B and soul hits originally released between 1992 and 2004. As with his 2020 Nonesuch debut, Satin Doll, Gendel recorded COOKUP in his native California with his friends and collaborators Gabe Noel and Philippe Melanson; the trio again adopts an approach of simultaneous synchronized sonic construction/deconstruction of the album’s source material, which this time includes songs by Ginuwine, 112, Aaliyah, All-4-One, Soul 4 Real, Beyoncé, Joe, Erykah Badu, Mario, SWV, and Boyz II Men. The album includes the single 'Anywhere', Gendel’s version of 112’s hit, featuring Meshell Ndegeocello on vocals.
“COOKUP marks another chance to convene with my good friends Phil Melanson and Gabe Noel,” says Gendel. “For this occasion, we hovered over a particular flavor: jams that we grew up with. We sculpted in sound our collective memories of this music. Meshell Ndegeocello took the 112 to another dimension (shoutout wayne12). Listen to Ginuwine, listen to 100 covers of Ginuwine on YouTube, listen to COOKUP.”
Gendel followed Satin Doll later in 2020 with DRM, an album on which the artist traded his trademark saxophone for vintage instruments and his own voice. On COOKUP, Gendel is back on sax, also playing wind controller, synthesizer, piano, great bass recorder, and nylon guitar. Noel plays electric bass, as well as vibraphone, lap steel guitar, contrabass guitar, and cello guitar, while Melanson plays drums and electronic percussion. The album was produced by Gendel and mixed by Dean Hurley and is included in the Guardian’s 2023 culture preview, ‘The best new music to look forward to in 2023’.
Sam Gendel is an LA-based composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist who Pitchfork calls ‘one of the main fixtures of Los Angeles’ bubbling ambient jazz scene.’ After Satin Doll and DRM, he released digital singles of Laurie Anderson’s ‘Sweaters’, Duke Ellington’s ‘Isfahan’, and Charlie Parker’s ‘My Little Suede Shoes’. Gendel‘s extensive discography also includes collaborations with Sam Wilkes (2018’s Music for Saxofone & Bass Guitar and 2021’s Music for Saxofone & Bass Guitar More Songs), Josiah Steinbrick (2021’s Mouthful / Serene), Pino Palladino and Blake Mills (2021’s Notes With Attachments and 2022’s Recorded Live at Sound City Dec 20th 2020), Antonia Cytrnowicz (2022’s LIVE A LITTLE), and more. He also performs on two other recent Nonesuch releases: Joachim Cooder’s Over That Road I’m Bound and Sam Amidon’s self-titled album.