The Neil Cowley Trio: Displaced
By Simon Sweetman
The British Neil Cowley Trio features transplanted Wellingtonian Evan Jenkins on drums. Their version of jazz is modern and moves between groove-based, lyrical playing - similar to The Bad Plus - including passages of intense piano-led music that is in keeping with Brad Mehldau's physical, Thelonius Monk-derived approach. Pinball Number Count takes the music from the famous cartoon sequence in Sesame Street and literally jazzes it up. It's great fun and a nice distraction from the occasional intensity of the likes of How Do We Catch Up and the title track. From gentle ballads to the more in-your-face rhythmic templates, the fluid trio sound is always impressive. Cowley's the obvious star, but Jenkins and bassist Richard Sadler certainly shine, even in their quiet background playing. This is the type of modern jazz that I really like, there are some abstract passages, but melody is still the key component.