The Neil Cowley Trio: Displaced (HideInside/Southbound)

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Neil Cowley Trio: How Do We Catch Up
The Neil Cowley Trio: Displaced (HideInside/Southbound)

Frankly, British jazz usually doesn't ring my bell.

There have been a few artists (Courtney Pine, Andy Sheppard, Jazz Warriors etc) in the past couple of decades who have made an impact, but most have seemed lacking in depth and gravitas, especially when lined alongside some of the hot talent the States is inevitably throwing up.

However pianist Cowley -- here with bassist Richard Sadler and drummer Evan Jenkins -- seems to have it in him to shake things a bit: the UK press has been hot on him --and the evidence of this muscular debut back it up.

Over 14 tight tracks where barely a note is wasted and never misplaced, this trio fire along with Monk-like angularity, Cowley knows the value of a memorable piano figure or sharp melodic twist, they have a keen sense of dynamics and drop-outs, and the whole thing sparkles with wit and invention. Some deft ballads, and it swings too.

But don't just take it from me.

The Independent, acknowledging the cultural climate, said, "stardom, such as it is in jazz, beckons" and Mojo said it was the jazz debut of the year.

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