Fantastic in-depth, multimedia storytelling here from the NYT. And all about a town in Ohio.
With their music speaking louder than words literally, the Neil Cowley Trio will be performing their brand of “poetic jazz” at the Wexner Center for the Arts at 1871 North High Street in Columbus, Ohio on Oct. 13.
This will mark the bands first time in Columbus, as they begin to build a new fan base in America with The Face of Mount Molehill U.S. Tour which supports their fourth album release “The Face of Mount Molehill.”
“In the United States we’re really a new band, we want to keep expectations low for the support we may get in the U.S. like we did in the U.K. since we’re showing off our music to a brand new audience,” said Neil Cowley, the lead pianist of the band. “Making it in the U.S. is the goal of any band and we’re putting in the hard work now. In other countries we’d have nice hotels but now it’ll be back to sleeping on my friends couch.”
The bands recent release “The Face of Mount Molehill” was inspired by multiple bands Cowley was listening to at the time, bands like Can, Kraftwerk, and Cluster. Also, Cowley wanted to experiment with strings for this album and created a string quartet to create the “big and dramatic” sound he wanted for the record.
“We have firm ideas of music we want to create before we head into the studio and that’s because we record in very expensive studios that have the best sound quality. We spent a week in RAK Studios to achieve that level of high quality sound and we recorded as one unit. We usually have three to four takes for recording a song, and if it’s a difficult song to perform it’ll be 10 takes,” said Cowley.
With their first album as a band “Displaced” in 2006, the band recorded the record in two days and ultimately earned the band a BBC Jazz Award for Best Album in 2007. Cowley said this was an utter shock to him and his band mates since they were relatively new in the music scene as a band.
Band member Cowley is also known for working with a then unknown British singer named Adele which he helped work on “Hometown Glory,” providing the piano play for the song. Cowley said he met Adele and her producer Jim Abbiss through a string of musical contacts within the U.K. in which he was asked to help record Adele’s record at the time “19.”
Cowley said in meeting Adele that she was a very humble and down to earth person within the studio.
Cowley continued work with Adele, providing piano play for her smash hit single “Rolling in the Deep” off of her breakthrough album “21” which garnered numerous music awards and much critical acclaim.
“We have a commitment to jazz innovators and also regularly sponsor international artists in all disciplines. Neil and his band fit both categories,” said Chuck Helm, a director of performing arts at the Wexner Center for the Arts. “I’m hoping that fans of music like this will enjoy the Neil Cowley Trio and that that will include Ohio State students.”
Tickets are $13 for students, $16 for members and $18 for the general public. They can be purchased at the box office at the Wexner Center for the Arts or online, at tickets.wexarts.org.
“By hosting the Neil Cowley Trio onstage here at the Wexner Center for the Arts we’re continuing our commitment to bringing talented musicians from around the world here to Columbus,” said Jennifer Wray, a marketing and media assistant for the Wexner Center for the Arts. “They’re a high-energy group with rollicking, powerful melodies, and their instrumental work is such that even if your tastes run more to indie rock than to jazz, you’re sure to hear something you like.”
Cowley ultimately enjoys the independent music market and hopes to continue performing music for the rest of his life. He also feels that music without words is way better than words.
“I think music speaks louder than the words, I think it gets deeper with music, the music isn’t telling you what to feel, it’s up to you to make that interpretation, music without the words is the ultimate,” said Cowley.