DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Neil Cowley Trio at Montreux 2012, Blu-ray (2013)

A popular new jazz pianist with strong rock and pop influences, appearing with a string quartet.

Published on April 12, 2013

Neil Cowley Trio at Montreux 2012, Blu-ray (2013)

Neil Cowley Trio at Montreux 2012, Blu-ray (2013)

Performers: Neil Cowley – piano; Rex Horan, bass; Evan Jenkins, drums; with string quartet
Program: 1. Lament 2. Rooster Was A Witness 3. Distance By Clockwork 4. Slims 5. Hug the Greyhound 6. Kenny Two Steps 7. Box Lily 8. How Do We Catch Up 9. Hope Machine 10. Meyer 11. Skies Are Rare 12. La Porte 13. Fable 14. The Face of Mount Molehill 15. She Eats Flies
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment 801213344895 [4/20/13]
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 1080i HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, PCM stereo
Length: 105 minutes
Rating: ****

We reviewed the latest CD from young British jazz pianist Cowley last year.  His jazz has a lot of pop and rock elements in it and appeals to the type of listener who digs The Bad Plus and similar groups. He is also known as the accompanist for the singer Adele. The Trio is made up of virtuoso musicians, with bassist Horan especially shining on some of the 15 selections in this video. The audience for this performance was not nearly full as with most of the Montreux videos, but the group puts on quite a show for them. (It seems that with the recent passing of Montreux founder Claude Nobs there are even more Montreux videos now being released.) As on his The Face of Mount Molehill CD, Cowley has added a string quartet for about half of the selections, but no guitarist as he had on that album.

Their program concentrates on selections from that hit album, but with a few tracks from earlier releases. It seemed to stretch on a bit too long for me. There is a special sort of English wit about many of his original numbers, and a strong influence of minimalism. In fact, the final number, “She Eats Flies,” concludes with probably the longest repeated phrase of any performance I have ever heard. It makes Steve Reich sound like he’s just kidding.

—John Henry




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