by Phil Barnes
The impact of ambition and competitiveness in a creative pursuit can be double edged. As a spur to action, an attempt to fulfil potential it is surely a positive--think of the mutual admiration and competition between say Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney in the mid-1960s for example. But there are times when a competitive nature can be destructive--a need always to be right," to force your ill-considered views on others irrespective of the facts and, frankly, to be a bit ...read more
by Dave Sumner
Neil Cowley TrioThe Face of Mount MolehillNaim2012The danger of composing tunes with catchy hooks and enthusiastic infusions of a string ensemble for a jazz album is that it gets dismissed as gussied up pop music; not jazz, just jazzy. Either unaware or unconcerned with the risk, pianist Neil Cowley presents a series of warm tunes that wear their heart on their sleeve. It's not the first time that unguarded sincerity overcame risk ...read more
by Glenn Astarita
With this British trio's third album--and perhaps its finest hour to date--a heartwarming assault on the customary jazz piano trio format surges onward. Here, pianist Neil Cowley merges rock, pop sentiment and mainstream jazz into a stylistic enterprise, aided by a highly rhythmic undercurrent. Cowley injects a sense of antiquity into the program, via his slightly rustic sounding piano, shaded with a honky-tonk, full-bodied tone. It's an uncanny dimension that casts an earthy keynote into the grand schema, while enhancing ...read more
by Karl Ackermann
In recent years, a number of piano trios have done an admirable job filling the void left by the untimely passing of Esbjörn Svensson and, by consequence, his pioneering trio, e.s.t. The Tingvall Trio, more than most, along with Sebastian Liedke, Marcin Wasilewski and Colin Vallon, have all overseen efforts that encapsulate a similar style and spirit. Notably, these trios are all European-based, as is the UK's Neil Cowley Trio. Virtually unknown in the United States, Cowley's longstanding group has ...read more
by Bruce Lindsay
Since it formed in 2005 the Neil Cowley Trio has developed its distinctive sound across two well-received albums. Displaced (Hide Inside Records, 2006) won the 2007 BBC Jazz Award for Best Album, while the follow-up, Loud, Louder, Stop (Cake, 2008), gained additional plaudits. Radio Silence is album number three and it finds the Trio at the peak of its power, staking a real claim to being one of the most impressive piano trios in contemporary jazz. The ...read more
by Bruce Lindsay
It's not an observation based on hard evidence, but the jazz world seems to be more awash with piano trios than it has been for many years. Whether it's a whim of fashion, a response to economic recession, a reaction to the over-digitization of music technology, or something else entirely, is far from clear. But there do seem to be a lot of them about, and many of them are extremely good.
So how does ...read more
by Ian Patterson
To win the BBC Jazz Album of the Year poll is a laudable achievement, but might it be a double-edged sword? The Neil Cowley Trio won the prestigious British award for Displaced (Hide Inside Records, 2007) and joined trumpeter Colin Steele and saxophonists Gilad Atzmon and Tony Kofi as recent winners whose careers have received a boost as a result.
The thing is, pianist Cowley's trio is art-pop without vocals, e.s.t. unplugged and minus the devilish improvisation, jazz ...read more