Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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The Neil Cowley Trio: Queen Elisabeth Hall 15/3/12

Neil Cowley Trio: Queen Elisabeth Hall 15/3/12
Neil Cowley Trio: Queen Elisabeth Hall 15/3/12 Neil Cowley Trio: Queen Elisabeth Hall 15/3/12

Things seem to be on the up for this enterprising bunch. Their latest opus "The Face Of Mount Molehill" seems to have rocketed them out of the clubs and onto the big stage and a packed audience on the Southbank paid testament to their new leg up into this lofty musical arena.

Trying to describe NCT is a bit like trying to explain dwarf tossing or abstract constructivism, it's complicated! I mean, are they a type of sophisticated ColdPlay for adults OR Emerson Lake & Palmer for kids! Some reviewers (like me) love to put people in boxes and get a smug sense of satisfaction when they nail them. Trying to nail this lot will bring alcholism and Epilepsy probably concurrently! Suffice to say they just romped through their energetic set at a terrific pace and left us, exhausted in the wake of their sheer and utter brilliance.

They have many sides to them, NCT are not a one trick pony, more like stallions on the rampage. First scenario is feelgood Hollywood soundtrack stuff (like the opener of the evening "Lament"), lyrical, cinematic and deftly executed. Second scenario vaguely classical, pastoral with the added weight of strings bringing more of an evocative edge, (eg the metronomic "Rooster Was A Witness"). Then thirdly, the air punching wonky plonky piano grinding madness designed to make you go insane! ("She Eats Flies")

The essence of the power trio is a wonder to behold, just think of the collective power; Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, ELP and The Police created 3 is the magic number. And when NCT wig out they conjure up a special synergy just as potent as their rock god counterparts did. The relatively new addition of bassist Rex Horan has given the band further chutzpah and a harder groove igniting the ever propulsive drummer Evan Jenkins to further heights... here is a band totally on top of their game, complemented highly by an additional string section led by Julian Ferraretto and some soundscape dulcimer like textures from quirky guitarist Leo Abrahams. Riveting stuff whatever you like to call it, you could try... just good good music!
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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