As a Jazz fan who loves everything from Count Basie to Keith Jarrett I wondered if I'd hear anything that I'd consider moved the art form along at all. Having just bought this, and already having a copy of Radio Silence I think I've found an artist who has just done that. Whether it will be recognised as doing that in the history of the music is doubtful but I digress.
This is a fabulous collection of Jazz trio tracks that has influences from certain elements of modern pop music (the sonic side I suppose) as well as 'classical' and more traditional Jazz elements. The range of styles is incredible from the rampaging and funky "His Nibs" to the musically witty stylings (think of something like West Side Story) of "Ginger Sheep" and the beautiful "Well", which could be a based on a well (excuse pun) known Jazz standard, but probably isn't!
It certainly is a genre breaking album, as it will appeal to more than just Jazz fans, and its an album that combines great musicianship with a modern attitude of what can be done with just a trio. The answer is a lot!
This is an unusual album... it's jazz, but not as you know it. I can even hear hints of Tori Amos on 'Well' and Radiohead on 'Dinosaur Die'. The musicianship of these three is just stunning and what really strikes me so much about the album is the production, it's so beautifully engineered, so flawless, it's a treat every time it's played. All the tracks are good, some more beautiful than others, with great, soaring musical landscapes that Cowley manages to conjure up on the piano. Really great drumming and double bass too. Highly recommended.
on 14 April 2008
I'd never heard of this band until I saw them on "Later with Jools holland".
I bought this album purely on hearing "His Nibs" being performed on the program. It was energetic and the way Cowley bounces around on his seat and really conveys his passion and love for music.
I knew instantly that there was something special and different about this Jazz/Rock trio, so instanty went online and bought the album which I never usually do.
When I received the album, I played it, loved it and played it again...twice.
Being a Jazz trumpet player myself I loved this music with its wide variety from Tasteful Jazz, Rock and Soul (No horrible Beat-bop here!). This music is almost a new kind of Jazz. Its energetic in areas and in others big open chord heavy beautifulness. The melodies and use of catchy hooks keep your head bopping and its great to cook food to (as I found out!).
This album has balls, it has attitude, it'll knock you for six and leaves you smiling in awe. 5 of out 5 here
on 5 April 2008
Like all good music that is not commercial or mainstream I stumbled on this trio after reading a review in the Sunday Times & listening to some clips of tracks on the internet. This album is magically impressive if you enjoy jazz, funk & rock because this band combine all three elements in my opinion. Funked up hard bopping jazz, very percussive and power driven but with some subtle melodies thrown in to break up the relentless pace. This is not safe, smooth jazz but has an edge and a tension. Kind of reminds me of EST but different enough to sound different and Pat Metheny Group in their heavier guises but without the electrics. An album of undoubted energy, verve, funk and enough melody to keep it all together. Not late listening but more for those moments when you want to let it bleed and rock. I'm more than pleased I bought this outstanding album.
on 17 February 2009
As if - I defy anyone not to crack a smile and move a body part in time to the Neil Cowley Trio's infectiously energetic brand of jazz. It says on his biography that Cowley performed a Shostakovich piano concerto in the Queen Elizabeth Hall aged ten, and it's tempting to think you can hear Dmitri's influence in the manic virtuosity of the ostinato loops he hammers out on the keyboard. If you want comparisons closer to home then the Esbjörn Svensson Trio and the Bad Plus are most obvious, but Michel Petrucciani might also be in there. Unlike so much fusion, whose attempts to layer funk physicality and rock excess on to jazz intelligence only end up battering the listener around the head at full volume for too many minutes, the intensity here is expertly judged and there's real subtlety going on amongst the impressive density of notes and soundwash of Evan Jenkins' drums and cymbals - and any electric bassists who still fancy their instrument the funkier partner to the boring old upright might as well hand the prize over to Richard Sadler now and slink home. If the album falls short in any way it might be a slight overall shortage of hummability - though tunes such as the opener His Nibs are as catchy as you could wish for - and a couple of tunes spin out one riff a few times more than they strictly should have. Obey the instructions on the tin though, and your listening pleasure is surely guaranteed: Loud.. LOUDER.. Stop!