25 July 2012
Neil Cowley has long held a reputation as a maverick genre-bending pianist/composer with a subversive take on the traditional jazz piano trio. For his 2012 London Jazz Festival appearance, he collaborates with violinist/arranger, Julian Ferraretto and Goldsmiths, University of London to turn the way classical music is learned and played on its head, in a unique, never-been-done-before project.
Comprising of students and seasoned professional players, a 30 piece+ ‘big strings' orchestra join the Neil Cowley Trio to perform music from their highly acclaimed 2012 release, The Face of Mount Molehill alongside specially composed material, in a way totally alien to tradition. Cowley & Ferraretto challenge them to discard old certainties of musical theory and playing purely from the reading of notation, in favour of playing by ear and feeling, creating a new aural based string ensemble capable of swinging and grooving like no other.
These classically trained musicians will be introduced to cross genre music in a modern and dynamic model, principally the discipline of improvisation, chord theory, and learning by ear. Indeed, Ferraretto reminds us that with the advent of the phonograph, music education took an evolutionary leap forward. Musicians were able to learn aurally from a consistent source, artists such as Charlie Parker talk about wearing out vinyl after vinyl from repeated plays and efforts to transcribe what they were hearing!