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Friday, Nov. 24, 2006



Neil Cowley Trio "Displaced"

The debut recording by pianist Neil Cowley, "Displaced" is one of the best British jazz releases in some time. The trio has a big, meaty sound and melodic energy, yet their complexities stand out as strongly as their freewheeling, almost rocklike sense of fun.

Like The Bad Plus and Happy Apple, the trio can be a bit clever, and sometimes lose their way stretching for one musical peak after another. But like those two groups, they know how playful, even rowdy dynamics connect emotionally.

The energy of "How Do We Catch Up" lets drummer Evan Jenkins blast away as much like Keith Moon as Elvin Jones. Bassist Richard Sadler shifts swiftly between bass styles, anchoring the trio even on slower tunes like "Degree in Intuition."

Together, the trio never miss the chance to throw in a raw punch to liven things up. With plenty of asymmetrical melodies, high energy and a hip approach, this debut speaks of even more unique music to come.

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