Few musicians can boast as extensive and colourful a musical career as George Cooper, and a quick glance at the list of projects to which he has leant his skills might lead you to believe that he is someone who has spent several decades plying their trade. Yet at a young age, George has already amassed a comprehensive repertoire of musical credits, with Hans Zimmer, Nigel Kennedy, MF Doom, Slum Village, The Brand New Heavies, Wet Wet Wet, Lisa Stansfield, Omar, Joss Stone, U2, The Haggis Horns, Abstract Orchestra and Lack of Afro among them. In addition, with time spent working at Abbey Road studios and sharing the stage with some of Jazz, Soul and Funk’s most respected names, George has established himself as one of the UK's most formidable talents.
From as early as four years old when he began playing drums, George immersed himself in every school band and orchestra until at the age of eighteen after graduating with triple distinction for a BTEC National Diploma in Popular Music at Exeter College, was offered the piano chair with The Pete Allen Jazz Band. He then began touring extensively across the UK and Europe with the band, appearing on the same bill as some of the most celebrated names of traditional British Jazz including Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk and Chris Barber.
In 2009, George was invited out to Remote Control Productions in Santa Monica to work for Hans Zimmer and was assigned a job in the sample department building virtual choir instruments for use in Ron Howard's Angels and Demons. Impressed by George's intuition and work ethic, the studio promoted him to programming cues for several other major projects including Public Enemies, The Boat That Rocked and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
George returned to England to work in London with orchestrator and composer Julian Kershaw who had just begun a project for Nigel Kennedy, transcribing Duke Ellington pieces and arranging them for Kennedy’s Orchestra of Life, for which he recruited George to transcribe. Due to Julian's other film commitments, George was trusted to orchestrate the majority of the pieces himself, and to eventually manage the project entirely. After thriving with this sudden responsibility, he was asked to assist orchestration on the movie Season of the Witch, and to engineer three string arrangements for U2. George had also impressed Nigel Kennedy with his project management and transcription skills and in the years following has orchestrated several more projects for him, including his major 2015 re-working of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, released on Sony.
Since moving to Bristol in 2012, George has played keyboards on over 300 commercially released tracks and remixes, a lot of which he co-wrote, for The Haggis Horns, Abstract Orchestra, MF Doom, Slum Village, The Lewis Express, Lack of Afro, The Unity Sextet, Junior Oliver, Fat Thumbs Ronnie, Alexia Coley, Emma Noble, Wax, Flevans and Herbal T to name a few. He has worked with several record labels on these projects including Tru Thoughts, ATA Records, Freestyle Records, Jalapeno Records, LOA Records and in 2019 he signed his highly-acclaimed Bristol band The Jazz Defenders to Haggis Records. George has also composed and produced string arrangements for Tristan McKay, Adam Isaac, Damian Hirst, Jay James, The Jazz Defenders and Lack of Afro’s album ‘Hello Baby’, which was included in BBC6 music’s top 20 albums of the year in 2016.
In January 2017, George was headhunted to be the keyboard player in The Haggis Horns, the members of which have toured and recorded with Jamiroquai, John Legend & The Roots, Amy Winehouse, Corrine Bailey Rae, Take That, Mark Ronson, Martha Reeves, Elbow and Robbie Williams. George contributed extensively to their fourth studio album 'One Of These Days', released in October 2017 and also their fifth album 'Stand Up For Love' released in Spring 2020.
Also in 2017 George joined one of the UK’s most renowned Jazz/Hip-Hop acts, The Abstract Orchestra. As well as touring with the 16-piece ensemble he also worked on their last two albums, Madvillain: Vol.1 and Madvillain: Vol.2, and in 2019 toured with Slum Village and played on their studio album Slum Village X Abstract Orchestra: 2020, a major re-working of the Slum Village album, Fantastic: Vol.2.
George is also the piano player in The Lewis Express, a piano led homage to the likes of Ramsay Lewis, which has two albums out on ATA records, and George’s own project The Jazz Defenders, an explosive, original Bristol-based nod to Blue Note Jazz, released their debut album on Haggis Records on the 6th December 2019, along with 5 singles across 2021, 2022 and 2023 including the popular single 'Perfectly Imperfect' and 'Rolling on a High', both featuring the London MC and rapper, Doc Brown. The Jazz Defenders album 'King Phoenix' was released in March 2022 followed by a nationwide tour, kicking off with a headline show at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London and later playing several shows at the renowned Duc Des Lombards in Paris. Their new album 'Memory in Motion' is set for release on 19th April 2024, followed by over 30 touring shows nationwide.
Over the years George has flourished as a captivating pianist and composer and has worked across a wide variety of mediums within the industry, composing music for several commercials worldwide, appearing on hundreds of commercially released tracks and orchestrating music for some of the most famous orchestras in the world. These examples alone point toward George being a musician of enviable dexterity who, even this early on in his career, has peppered his resume with a formidably eclectic array of artists and genres.