Coogan as Jazz Musician
For over 20 years, Coogan has led the Chris Coogan Quartet, a combo with a repertoire that includes straight-ahead jazz, fusion jazz and boogie-woogie.
S’Funky, Coogan’s ﬁrst jazz album containing his original songs, was released in 1995 and re-released in 1999. It features the song Cranberry Isle which took the top jazz prize in the 1997 John Lennon Songwriting Competition.
Coogan’s credits as a jazz musician include performing with the late Sal Salvador, Bette Midler, Donna Summer, Paul Newman, Whoopie Goldberg, Jo Ann Woodward, Alec Baldwin, Gene Wilder, Larry Coryell, Dave Liebman, Harold Danko, Ronnie Spector, James Naughton and Phoebe Snow, as well as arranging for Teo Maceo, producer for the late Miles Davis He appeared on television’s Celebrity Jeopardy and the Arsenio Hall Show and has performed at Manhattan’s Blue Note and the Montreaux Jazz Festival.
Coogan as Gospel Musician
Coogan also leads a successful career as a choral director; as well as a writer and arranger of gospel music. He weaves jazz black gospel and white choral music into a new brand of music that engages a broad, cross-cultural audience.
In 1993, he founded the good News Gospel Choir with 15 members. Today, this 50-voice, multi-denominational singing group performs nearly every weekend at churches, festivals, fundraisers and various community events throughout the state of Connecticut. The group has released two albums, 1997’s Joy, Unspeakable Joy and most recently, Light a Candle.
Through a choral workshops, Coogan has begun to help reinvigorate church and community choirs by teaching directors and members the vocal techniques and gesture that accompany Gospel music. These workshops have been oﬀered throughout California and in Sydney, Australia and will be oﬀered to churches throughout the country in Spring, 2001.
I see myself as a catalyst who uses the medium of music to bring people together” Coogan said. “It’s my passion to help people ﬁnd joy in making music and singing from their souls”.
Ben is a virtuoso violinist who has an extraordinary stylistic breadth. Ben is a local of New Haven and has toured with Caravan of Thieves, a gypsy jazz act and has collaborated with Grammy award winning artists.