Eagle Rock Entertainment recently released what is easily one of the year’s best live recordings in the form of Neil Cowley Trio Live at Montreux 2012 on Blu-ray. The award winning trio’s performance was released on a variety of formats including CD. Those who have not picked up this performance on DVD or Blu-ray will be especially impressed by the CD portion as it follows the same rundown as the visual recordings of the show. There are few words to fully describe the trio’s performance other than perhaps “stunning” and “beautiful.” The musical landscapes painted by the trio in its performances of songs from its most recent full length studio release, ‘Face of Mount Molehill’ (2012) show everything that makes a live performance so special for audiences.
Even in audio format, audiences get a recording in Neil Cowley Trio Live at Montreux 2012 that will take them to another world. Listeners need just turn on this record and close their eyes, and they will be able to see every note jump from the page and into their minds. It’s not often that a band, artist, or group can have such an incredible effect either on a studio or live record. But Neil Cowley Trio has managed to do just that with this live recording. That is especially the case for anyone that is new to the sounds of this group of musicians. The post song banter by Cowley seems to have been taken out of this half of the presentation. But that’s a minor loss, as the music more than makes up for the other’s absence.
Since this portion of the group’s Montreux performance is audio only, one can only go so far as to critique its sound quality. It goes without saying that the audio recording presented on this disc is crystal clear. Every note and every beat is audible. And given the proper attention, every note and every beat can have its very own meaning, making the record that much more enjoyable.
Neil Cowley and his band mates—Rex Horan (bass) and Evan Jenkins (drums)—along with the band’s touring musicians have proven with this recording with a single shadow of a doubt that this band has picked up right where the famed jazz/fusion group Yellowjackets left off with its 2011 album, Timeline. While the members of Yellowjackets are out on the road in support of Timeline, Neil Cowley and company are keeping appetites of that band whetted with this new release. It would be quite interesting, as a matter of fact, to see the two acts perform together if they haven’t done so. Such a live bill would be quite the treat for fans of modern jazz and of either group. Until such time, the band is set to perform at a pair of European jazz festivals next weekend. A performance at the annual Love Supreme Festival in Lewes, United Kingdom is also currently on the group’s tour itinerary. Fans of the Neil Cowley Trio can get all the latest tour dates and more when they “Like” the group’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/neilcowleytrio or check in at the band’s official website, http://www.neilcowleytrio.com.
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