Jim Cooper


 Jim Cooper has been playing the vibraphone for over 40 years, leading numerous groups and appearing as both soloist and sideman. A native Chicagoan now living in West Michigan, Jim has performed and/or recorded with Michigan clarinetists Harry Goldson and Dave Bennett, pianists Jeff Haas and Robin Connell, organist Jim Alfredson and saxist Ken Morgan.  He has performed with nationally known jazz artists like Art Van Damme, Larry Vuckovich, Frank Wess, Milt Hinton, Marcus Belgrave, Ira Sullivan, Buddy de Franco and Jon Faddis and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble.

Jim has performed in concerts, clubs and festivals, including The Chicago Jazz Festival, Sutton’s Bay Jazz Festival, Lansing Jazz Festival, Sedona Jazz on the Rocks, Grand Rapids Jazz Festival, Paradise Valley Jazz Party (AZ), Chicago’s Millennium Park, Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase, Chicago’s Green Mill, Winter's Jazz Club, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge in Detroit and has been hanging in New York City sitting in at Small’s Jazz Club and the Fat Cat. He was recently featured in the Grand Rapids series, "Jazz in the Sanctuary" at Fountain Street Church and has performed with the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra and recently, the Grand Valley University Jazz Band.

 Jim has won numerous awards including the National Endowment for the Arts grant, a WYCE-FM Jammie Award and ArtPrize's 2015 Best Jazz Composition award in Grand Rapids.

As a Delmark Recording Artist in the early 90s, he released two Cds with ira Sullivan, Tough Town and Nutville.  His other Cds are Itchin' to Groove and Trio Musik featuring the late pianist, Dave Hay.  His latest CD, released in 2018, Make Someone Happy, features an outstanding Chicago quartet with legendary multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan. 

 Jim currently teaches Music History and Jazz Piano/ Vibraphone at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Michigan and gives clinics in improvisation and vibes at many schools.  He is a Musser Performing Artist and endorses Mike Balter Mallets.











 “. . . the more you listen, the more you appreciate the quiet but marked strength of Cooper’s style . . . he impresses with his stylistic range and the harmonically assured manner in which he draws his fellow players together.”

Chicago Sun-Times


“Cooper is not just a strong soloist but an accomplished band-leader as well, he played with a degree of subtlety and craft one does not often encounter in the work of performers far better known than he.”

Chicago Tribune


“. . . he’s no kid, judging by his mature lines . . . a warm vibist who goes for the heart.”

Jazz Times


“There seems no limit to the range of Cooper’s moods and themes: he delves deeply into each tune, from bop to bossa, and maintains openness through his warm, unfettered lines.”

Cleveland (OH) Jazz Report


 “. . . nothing tricky, nothing overly glossy, and nothing so sophisticated that it’s lost touch with the streets.”

Chicago Reader


“...your vibes are warm and true, the McCoy!”

Studs Terkel


“Cooper gave the evening the sort of depth of modern jazz knowledge you’d expect from a Chicagoan.”....masterful vibraphone playing..."

Grand Rapids Press


“When the mallets are in the hands of the exceptionally talented Jim Cooper, it’s an extraordinary and inspired performance vs. the mere ordinary!

Grand Rapids Jazz Society Newsletter


 "An imaginative improviser, Cooper delivered quicksilver solos and propulsive rhythms..."

AZ Music Scene


“...a very good player of standards and originals...deserving wider


All Music Guide


"Cooper never missed a note, and never mind he plays traditional two-mallet style,  the man is as smooth on the vibraphone as a baby's hand in the breeze."

Burlington (IA) Hawkeye