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Related Reviews

iDrum Magazine
"healthy provisions of humour and melodrama"
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New York Magazine
"slickly produced in the rough-hewn world of jazz"
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Time Out New York
"handsome originals...strong, stirring stuff"
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New York Times
“featuring the same adaptable trio found on his prepossessing new album, Cowley is well known for bridging the chasm between jazz and pop”
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San Francisco Chronicle
"rocking groove tunes and atmospheric numbers"
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Something Else
"Part George Winston, part Ben Folds, part the Bad Plus... a mighty mixture of elegance, attitude and wit"
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Los Angeles Times
"cinematic strings... crisp melodies and driving interplay between Cowley and his rhythm section"
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audaud.com
"celebratory piano riffs, lively tempo, and a groove enriched by a pizzicato strings"
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Jazz In Space
"straight-up contemporary jazz with a bang-bang edge"
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Midwest Record
"One of those bands that has the special sauce to break out of the critic's darling ghetto and get real people on their side"
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Downbeat Magazine
"I believe London’s jazz scene is the most vibrant right now, and NCT [Neil Cowley Trio] is its most brilliant incarnation"
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Magnet Magazine
"nothing but thrills and excitement" and that, "we're finally experiencing a worthwhile British Invasion (of modern jazz). Check them out." Magnet Magazine.
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Jazz Times
"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)."
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Irish Examiner
"Like an advert for a popular make of car, take it for a drive and you'll understand"
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SAGA
"powered instrumentals that are smart but not too pleased with themselves"
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Evening Standard
"powerful dynamic"
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Scottish Daily Express
"piano, bass and drums are cleverly augmented"
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Next Bop
"one of those albums that makes good use of all the tools in its toolbox and is certainly worthy of all the depth for which it is striving to achieve"
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Music News
"This is really very fine: top class writing and strong playing, music for a dark and cold night that carries its own heat"
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The Independent
"sophisticated, tightly crafted set which makes you want to go back to the beginning"
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BBC Music
"There’s minimalism, but it’s the minimalism of sheer melodic space, and a refreshing sort of simplicity."
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The Scotsman
"catchy melodic hooks and crunching rhythmic surge"
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Subba Cultcha
“A stunning evolution of the art-form from the countries leading jazz pianist.... a collision between the worlds of jazz and post-rock which takes the complexity of the former and the melodrama of the former.”
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E Music
4 Stars
“its pleasure is in its stimulation: In a very real sense, it’s a refreshing listen.”
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Artic Reviews
“a thumping, full on rock dynamic that closely resembles a Tom Chaplin-less Keane”
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Is This Music
“you’ll want to hear this again and again.”
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The Word
“a lovely record of concise, melodic tracks that might find favour with anyone who has ever been attracted to Brubeck, the Penguin Café Orchestra, or Sumpertramp”
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Jazz Journal
"bounding energy, high drama, puckish wit, and catchy melodic hooks"
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MOJO
"Impressive fourth album"
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British Jazz Blog
"a rhythmically driven record with an inventive jazz bite...real must listen for 2012"
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Yorkshire Evening Post
"To pigeonhole The Face of Mount Molehill as a jazz release would do it an injustice - it is simply great music"
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Indie London
“It’s a fascinating listen… as uplifting as it can be sorrowful, but always keen to surprise and delight in its different ways.”
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Scotland Sunday Herald
“…beautifully written and carefully arranged …. a certain grandeur …appealing quirkiness ….and talent for movingly tender reflection”
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Fake DIY
"does not readily conform to pre-conceived notions of jazz...offering almost a rock music-like aesthetic to the proceedings."
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AAA Music
"Lovers of jazz will be excited, touched and thrilled by this album”
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Music OMH
“…moments of graceful poise and pounding insight... Cowley has crafted a coherent, carefully planned suite of music here with a strong conceptual framework and a remarkably consistent sound”
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The Times
"short, catchy tunes and melodies"
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The Telegraph
4 Stars
“…. a loveable English eccentric with odd blend of ‘anthemic’ melody and unexpected moments of pastoral radiance…. (he and strings) work perfectly together”
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Blues & Soul
"the strings and sound collage guitar just keep the ante going up and up. Stupendous!"
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The Line Of Best Fit
"rollicking energy captured...not sound out of place"
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Time Out
4 Stars
“tips the scales of success in favour of his credible hybrid of proggish-rock, jazzy melancholy and English melodic whimsy…a glorious romp of a record”
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Vanguard Online
“This is charming and witty stuff, full of dynamics and a fresh sounding piano that switches between pounding and picking out melodies"
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Shout4Music
"‘The Face Of Mount Molehill’ with its driving rhythmic melodies. He is the type of musician you could only wish on stumbling across in a late night bar and on arrival being drawn into every note.”
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Fwd Music
“Neil Cowley Trio have stuck to what they do best, with mainly piano based melodies throughout this beautiful album. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as the sheer creativity of writing behind this album makes it able to stand out from the crowd”
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The Sunday Times
“worth testing out on a recalcitrant teen who thinks all jazz is as forbidding as Sanskrit“
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17 Seconds
"once heard, you’ll want to hear this again and again.”
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The Guardian
4 Stars
"set audiences bopping to a smart splicing of punchy themes and chord-belting, rock-piano climaxes"
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Record Collector
4 Stars
“wistfully lyrical and dynamic to an adrenaline pumping degree…their most impressive opus yet”
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UNCUT Magazine
4 Stars
“the greatest stadium-filling anthems that Coldplay never wrote"
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Culture Captial
"The Face Of Mount Molehill is diverse and well formed...it’s an album that’s going to stay firmly on my playlist.”
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Alt Sounds
"It's reminiscent of the pop leanings of a composer such as Thomas Newman"
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All Gigs
"award-winning threesome have delivered a smart, polished and pretension-free set"
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Jazzwise review Neil Cowley Trio - 'The Face Of Mount Molehill'


26 January 2012
Jazzwise
4 Stars

For pianist-composer Neil Cowley, improvisation has always been a bit of fun in a live situation but an artistic no-go when it comes to a studio recording. That was until the trio's previous 2010 release Radio Silence proved otherwise. Cowley has always had the knack of coming up with catchy tunes but on Radio Silence  structures were loosened (largely evolving out of playing the repertoire ‘in' live) to create breathing space for group improvisation. Yet those expecting more of the same on the new release The Face Of Mount Molehill will be disappointed. At first, anyway. Cowley has gone back to writing no-messin' tightly-arranged "songs without a singer" on their fourth recording and second for the Naim Jazz Label. But The Face Of Mount Molehill is the equal of Radio Silence for other reasons that involve Cowley's new recruits. One is Australian bassist Rex Horan, a sometime funky indie rocker, who ups the kick-arse factor with his energy and strength of groove; in a contrasting dynamic effect Brian Eno-collaborator and guitarist Leo Abrahams' ethereal effects and sonic manipulations create an overall subtle ambience. Thirdly, there's Cowley's arrangements for chamber string section which though far from ground-breaking, largely resists the filling - out - the- sound function strings often perform in the rock world. There are some typically strong tunes here that occasionally recall Cowley's initial inspirations The Bad Plus (without the anarchic fragility) and EST, but then you're more likely to hear echoes of REM, Beatles, Radiohead, Philip Glass and Rufus Wainwright, than those of Keith Jarrett or Brad Melhdau. Having said that, The Face Of Mount Molehill is occasionally reminiscent of the latter's brilliant 2010 post-jazz recording opus Highway Rider, especially as the studio has been an integral part of the creative process with rock producer Dom Monks at the helm. A different kind of album to Radio Silence but another high quality release.





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