New York, NY: The Iridium - Thursday, October 11, The Iridium is located at 1650 Broadway, NYC, Tel (212) 582-2121
Columbus, OH: The Wexner Center for The Arts - Saturday, October 13 The Wexner Center is located at Ohio State University, 1871 North High Street, Columbus, OH, Tel (614) 292-3535
Franklin, TN: The Franklin Theatre - Sunday, October 14 The Franklin Theatre is located at 419 Main Street, Franklin, TN, Tel (615) 538-2075
Oakland, CA: Yoshi's - Monday, October 15 Yoshi's is located at 510 Embarcadero West, Jack London Square, Oakland, CA, Tel (510) 238-9200
Los Angeles, CA: The Mint - Tuesday, October 16 The Mint is located at 6010 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, Tel (323) 954-9400
About Neil Cowley
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.