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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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Jazzizit Records JITCD0744 [48:48]



Longing [5:55]
Joseph’s mud [5:47]
The chosen one [4:28]
Very loved [4:49]
Barcelona [6:48]
The aftermath [4:25]
Hidden [3:41]
Goodbye, then [5:22]
Squat little man [3:13]
Zizou [4:13]
All compositions by Tom Cawley
Tom Cawley (piano)
Sam Burgess (bass)
Joshua Blackmore (drums)
rec. 21-22 August, 2006, Clown’s Pocket Studio, London

Tom Cawley is the best-known name here, having already, though still young, led bands at Ronnie Scott’s and the Blue Note in New York, as well as playing keyboards with Acoustic Lady (with their remarkable mix of punk, rock pop and jazz). But it should be noticed that this band is called ‘Curios’, not The Tom Cawley Trio. Its music making is essentially collective, even if all the tunes are Cawley’s. There is an audible empathy amongst the members of the band and Burgess and Blackmore are certainly important voices contributing to the overall sound and manner of the band – they are far more than mere accompanists.

The music they play is thoroughly various. Varied in mood, dynamics and reference; varied in its attitudes to harmony and rhythm. Sometimes the rhythms are complex, sometimes lithely swinging; at moments one is made to think of Bill Evans, at others of Thelonious Monk or Andrew Hill. There is a lot of wit, of sophisticated alertness, in this music, but it is neither excessively derivative nor merely clever. There’s passion to the playing, there’s humour and there’s joy. Whether on a ballad such as ‘Very loved’ or the powerfully percussive ‘Hidden’, this trio plays with real emotional substance, real weight of feeling.

Blackmore is a superb drummer, listening and leading alike, precise yet loose, capable of both gentle brushwork and fiercely propulsive aggression. Burgess does all that could be hoped for as an accompanist, and makes an excellent impression in his opportunities to solo.

In short this is an excellent album of contemporary jazz, informed by an obviously extensive knowledge of the tradition of the piano trio, but in no way inhibited or limited by that knowledge – which merely provides a jumping off point, a source of the occasional allusion.

Well-recorded, this is an important and satisfying album.

Glyn Pursglove


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