By Neil Cowley Trio
Trad jazz fans and improve enthusiasts would not call this jazz, so don't let that J word put you off. His first album fronting the Neil Cowley Trio, 'Displaced', did however win the 2007 BBC Jazz award for Best Album. So this is jazz according to Auntie. His performing credits include Brand New Heavies, Gabriel, The Green Nuns of the Revolution and Zero 7, as well as others, which points to the more funk pop view.
This is jazz for non-jazz fans. His profile was raised following a performance on Later with Jools Holland, and the quality of the production is very similar to a Jools Holland release. Arguably over produced. In fact, I would call this rock-style production, everything is turned up full, and the double bass is often hidden behind the thunderous piano.
The boy can play, as can the other two members of his trio, and they have produced a series of well defined songs, with no extended improvised procrastinations on a theme. The production is floorless, and the performance as tight as your landlord's wallet. This is no hark back to the days of Mingus, and is a continuation of the type of fusion that is driving jazz forwards, but it's not going to excite jazz musos.
It does drift in to theme tune territory, and if a presenter started talking over the top of this it would not seem out of place. There is loads of energy in every part of this CD, and I'll bet they get people dancing at every gig.