Friday, March 9, 2012

Neil Cowley Trio The Face Of Mount Molehill Naima 2012

The two most played out words in the English language may best describe the Neil Cowley Trio - fun and amazing. The Neil Cowley Trio continue to roll the musical dice and churn out releases that are loaded with melodic intensity and enough ear catching hooks to have the dreaded "C" word pop up with regularity.


Truth be told Cowley is no stranger to the pop music scene and while most adventurous pop artists struggle in an attempt to bring a subtle jazz sensibility to their craft, Cowley brings stylish grooves and vibrant melodies that would make the most commercial acts green with envy. The Neil Cowley Trio continues to find inventive methods by which to fuse two genres that are as stylistically and musically diverse while seemingly laughing in the face of the pseudo intellectual jazz elite and having the most ardent pop music fans heading for the nearest bridge. "Rooster Was A Witness" is built around solid harmonic progression on piano and dancing ever so close to a more contemporary rock sound only to have the addition of strings spin the tune off into a vibrant frenzy boarding on British acid jazz. "Distance By Clockwork" is the epitome of British pop gloss bordering on the more soulful edge. The tune develops a unique organic pulse and a rhythmic propensity to engage the listener on a more unexpected cerebral level. The title track "The Face Of Mount Molehill" is an extended riff on some of the earlier harmonic journeys taken but is pulled off with such extreme precision to discount this as being a rehash of any kind would be hyper-critical in the worst opportunistic sense of the word.

The Face of Mount Molehill is far from a commercial spin on what the trio has succeeded at for so long but is instead a natural extension of the previous release Radio Silence. Instead of resting on past laurels, The Neil Cowley Trio pushes the musical envelope with an intriguing spin on just where the modern jazz piano trio could be heading. A winner!

Tracks: Lament; Rooster Was A Witness; Fable; Meyer; Skies Are Rare; Mini Ha Ha; Slims; Distance By Clockwork; The Face Of Mount Molehill; Hope Machine; La Porte; Sirens Last Look Back.

Personnel: Neil Cowley: piano; Rex Horan: double bass; Evan Jenkins: drums.