NEIL COWLEY TRIO, THE FACE OF MOUNT MOLEHILL


Classically trained British pianist Neil Cowley rooted himself in pop and funk early in his musical career, playing and performing with bands like Zero 7 and Brand New Heavies as well as forming his own acclaimed group, Fragile State, which trafficked in electronic and chill-out lounge music. He continues to ride a heady wave of personal success in England and Europe today, notably playing with Adele on her chart-busting album “21.” With an affectionate eye on jazz, he formed the Neil Cowley Trio in 2006, with music dubbed “jazz for Radiohead fans” - “Radio Silence” and “Displaced” were two earlier albums that deservedly made waves. Prepping for a breakout stateside, you can nearly taste the trio’s exuberance on “The Face Of Mount Molehill,” (NAIM Jazz) their fourth and very fine recording.

TFOMM is straight-up contemporary jazz with a bang-bang edge – vaguely improvisational and tethered to pop, R&B and an occasional drift into something approaching smooth jazz. Cowley, bassist Rex Horan and drummer Evan Jenkins populate the studio-derived tunes with many buzz happy moments and surreal bits of creativity (the sampled child’s laugh as textural component on “Mini Ha Ha” and fizzy synths on the title track) that provide ear candy pleasure. Stronger tracks like “Fable” and “Rooster Was A Witness” are tight and memorable. Nicely, these sticky jazz tunes carry a lot of heart within their tight 3-minute plus playtime.  Stunningly recorded by the audiophile-friendly Naim Records, “The Face Of Mount Molehill” is a 45-minute blast, mixing percussive jazz riffs with British-styled pop grooves and played for big fun. The tunes should sound even better live when the Trio performs at the Iridium in NYC on October 11. (12 tracks; 45:44 minutes) www.naimjazz.com
"Rooster Was A Witness," an impressive vid by NCT

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JAZZ IN SPACE: NEIL COWLEY TRIO, THE FACE OF MOUNT MOLEHILL

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NEIL COWLEY TRIO, THE FACE OF MOUNT MOLEHILL


Classically trained British pianist Neil Cowley rooted himself in pop and funk early in his musical career, playing and performing with bands like Zero 7 and Brand New Heavies as well as forming his own acclaimed group, Fragile State, which trafficked in electronic and chill-out lounge music. He continues to ride a heady wave of personal success in England and Europe today, notably playing with Adele on her chart-busting album “21.” With an affectionate eye on jazz, he formed the Neil Cowley Trio in 2006, with music dubbed “jazz for Radiohead fans” - “Radio Silence” and “Displaced” were two earlier albums that deservedly made waves. Prepping for a breakout stateside, you can nearly taste the trio’s exuberance on “The Face Of Mount Molehill,” (NAIM Jazz) their fourth and very fine recording.

TFOMM is straight-up contemporary jazz with a bang-bang edge – vaguely improvisational and tethered to pop, R&B and an occasional drift into something approaching smooth jazz. Cowley, bassist Rex Horan and drummer Evan Jenkins populate the studio-derived tunes with many buzz happy moments and surreal bits of creativity (the sampled child’s laugh as textural component on “Mini Ha Ha” and fizzy synths on the title track) that provide ear candy pleasure. Stronger tracks like “Fable” and “Rooster Was A Witness” are tight and memorable. Nicely, these sticky jazz tunes carry a lot of heart within their tight 3-minute plus playtime.  Stunningly recorded by the audiophile-friendly Naim Records, “The Face Of Mount Molehill” is a 45-minute blast, mixing percussive jazz riffs with British-styled pop grooves and played for big fun. The tunes should sound even better live when the Trio performs at the Iridium in NYC on October 11. (12 tracks; 45:44 minutes) www.naimjazz.com
"Rooster Was A Witness," an impressive vid by NCT

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