NEIL COWLEY TRIO - The Face Of Mount Molehill
(Published: July 19, 2012)
NEIL COWLEY TRIO - The Face Of Mount Molehill
September 11, 2012 on Naim Jazz Records, www.NaimJazz.com
Cementing his position as a dazzling composer of extraordinary talent, Cowley and his trio scale the gargantuan face of Mount Molehill where they explore the heights of everyday trivia, and score it to a soaring overture of epic proportions
On Tour in the States - October 2012
"nothing but thrills and excitement . . . we're finally experiencing a worthwhile British Invasion (of modern jazz). Check them out." - Magnet Magazine (on the band's performance at the 2012 Montreal Jazz Festival)
"Neil Cowley and his trio thrilled with a dynamic set, tackling the jazz-rock divide in a different, yet equally engaging fashion. Captivating melodies marked by intricate time signatures and catchy hooks were delivered with a hard-hitting urgency (check the new The Face of Mount Molehill)." - JazzTimes (on the band's performance at the 2012 Montreal Jazz Festival)
"...the greatest stadium-filling anthems that Coldplay never wrote."
- **** Uncut Magazine
"Anchored by Cowley's restless and even anthemic piano melodies, the trio balances a propulsive rhythmic drive with a lush delicacy, augmented on the new album by subtle string flourishes."
- The Los Angeles Times (Face to Watch in 2012)
"Cowley's catchy and fluctuating set of repeated figures, and Jenkins' pounding, infectious beat can't help but please the ears....Ben Folds Five (without the vocals)" - JazzTimes
"London-born Cowley is wonderfully percussive and powerful, with a fondness for lyrical flourishes in the midst of the groove...a great, creative piano trio that makes you bob your head and smile." - DownBeat
"'...a glorious romp of a record.......the most passionate and important album of his career so far." - **** Time Out
The Face of Mount Molehill is the magnificent new album from the pioneers of the British "post-jazz" scene, the Neil Cowley Trio. Featuring soundtracks in search of a film, exploratory minimalist miniatures, power pop songs without words and the coolest TV theme tunes you'll ever hear, this new recording looks set to launch the music of Neil Cowley into the American public's consciousness, and pays testament to The Los Angeles Times endorsement that Cowley is a "Face To Watch in 2012".
Pianist Neil Cowley's music is defined by powerful rip-roaring riffs countered by tender passages of sheer delicacy and witty, whimsical romps; a jazz-meets-rock ethic that has earned him a BBC Jazz Award for Best Album (2007) and plaudits from across the musical spectrum.
Cowley's musical career spans across many genres, making him very different to most musicians on the jazz scene. Aside from time spent as a young boy at London's Royal Academy where his prodigious talent saw him performing a Shostakovitch piano concerto at the age of 10, he has not been schooled on any jazz course, rather his skills has been learned on the job. In past years he has become the go-to piano man for soul and pop acts that require a jazz technique and rhythmic suppleness to their artful pop hits, explaining perhaps his reluctance to be boxed in by the piano-trio convention. In fact, his work with Adele on her global chart topper, 21, the biggest selling album of the decade, make him quite literally 2011's most listened to pianist on the planet.
The Face of Mount Molehill is the Neil Cowley Trio's fourth recording. Nourishing his fondness for grand, commanding sounds, Cowley recorded his trio with a string ensemble for the first time. "I've always wanted to work with strings," says Cowley, "It's my chance to be big and dramatic, like those amazing John Barry soundtracks that I grew up listening to."Joining Neil Cowley in his trio is long time compatriot, drummer Evan Jenkins, and new recruit Rex Horan on bass. With co-arranger violinist Julian Ferraretto andBrian Eno sidekick Leo Abrahams providing subtle atmospheric soundscapes on guitar, this collection of original tracks presents music that is expansive, dynamic and deeply engaging.
The title track, "The Face of Mount Molehill", is a reference to the way in which Cowley takes mundane, everyday things and explodes them into something epic and romantic. "I am, basically, making musical mountains out of molehills. Little things become gargantuan." With its jabbering piano and strident strings, this quirky Madness-meets-Motown anthem is one of several rock gems on this album. Another is "Fable", a pulsating piece of power pop, peppered with odd time signatures. Then there's the wonderfully atmospheric "Rooster Was A Witness"; a sinister stomp called "Hope Machine", and the dramatic "La Porte", which resembles a track from Radiohead's Kid A. Cowley likes playing at volume. Though it's important not to ignore the delicacy and sensitivity that imbues much of this album - the achingly beautiful "Distance By Clockwork" and it's two bookends, the gorgeous piano solos - "Lament" and "Siren's Last Look Back" - which both recall the limpid minimalism of Michael Nyman or Steve Reich.
It would be far too simplistic to slot this thrilling music into the jazz pigeonhole; sure, it is instrumental but these songs without words have the power to break down standard perceptions of genre. Their sheer emotion and energy touch lovers of all music.
The Neil Cowley Trio are known for their remarkable and engaging live performances, which always maintain a quirky, English sense of humour and theatrical element at their core. This October 2012, the trio will embark on a U.S. tour.
The Face of Mount Molehill U.S. Tour:
October 7 - NYC, October 9 - Boston, October 10 - Philadelphia, October 11 - Washington, DC, October 12 - Chicago, October 13 - Columbus, OH - The Wexner Center, October 14 - Nashville - Frankln Theatre, October 16 - San Francisco, October 18 - Los Angeles, October 19, 20 - Seattle
To view videos of "Fable" & "Rooster Has a Witness" please click here:
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