Piano trios often struggle to offer much that is new and exciting and there’s a great deal of competition. Touch And Flee endeavours to stand out from the crowd. Here, pianist and broadcaster (and onetime Brand New Heavy and Green Nuns Of The Revolution member), Neil Cowley presents nine of his own tunes. What is on offer is a very strong understanding between piano, drum and bass, which is exceptionally well recorded. The challenge with the tunes is whether they will be played enough to become familiar. Whether this will become a ‘go to’ recording will only become clear over time.
Pushed for time, my brief, track by track listening notes follow:-
Kneel Down– percussion to the fore and bass mixed back a bit and ending with a sense of optimism from the keyboards.
Winterlude– a jagged jangly start and very jazzy chords
Sparkling possibly relates to the piano playing in the opening and closing sections.
Gang of One– punchy and percussive with a relentless tension and drive about it
Couch Slouch opens with a lively, rocky drum pattern with Cowley improvising around it. Rex Horan’s bass playing is deft and subtle and all the better for that.
Bryce has a sense of drama and wistfulness about it.
Mission is supplemented by an extra element of electronic keyboards,
Queen the tune I enjoy most at present- possibly because it is in an uplifting major key?
The Art– wistful and plaintiff without really going anywhere. A subdued ending to the set.
For a taster, either visit YouTube or the band’s own website, which is here.
My overall verdict is that there is much to enjoy and nothing to annoy here. Touch And Flee is a good soundtrack to accompany quiet reflection by the listener, although whether any of the nine short tunes have what it takes to become memorable remains to be seen.
The band etc:- Neil Cowley (piano); Evan Jenkins (drums); Rex Horan (bass). Produced: Dom Monks. Recorded: RAK Studios, London. Released June 2014. Naim Jazz 206.
Thanks to Chris for the review copy.