Death Jazz – Neil Cowley Trio & ‘Soil & Pimp’ Sessions, Roundhouse (Live Review)

‘Death Jazz’ may be a term already pregnant with its own demise but nonetheless, the most thrilling jazz of the millennium was at the Camden Roundhouse tonight


Three top bands and as many DJs of high calibre were out in force. After a brilliant first band and Toshio ‘UFO’ Matsuura on the decks, came the amazing Neil Cowley Trio. Think thumping, confident piano-led music with a tight band that can start and stop at will. Apart from a brilliant sense of timing and plenty of power, there are spare melodies aplenty to make this band a hugely enjoyable experience.
Fabio dug out his jazz vinyl and showed that he can do jazz as easily as his more trademark sound, before ‘Soil & Pimp’ Sessions came on to a massive welcome. It soon became apparent that this is as much a cult as a band. If you have never been in a huge rotunda while a man in a cowboy hat and a kimono yells at you through a megaphone and all around you people are pumping their fists in the air and shouting ‘soil, soil, soil…’ well let’s just say you have been missing out on a band that mixes Kurosawa, Sex Pistols, Madness and Parliament in visual terms and UFO, Archie Shepp and Mingus in musical terms.
What united all three bands (but especially the first and last) was a penchant for old-fashioned jazz honking. Screaming saxes, sometimes played through pedals marked a sound that seemed to reject the tepid cultural produce of the politically miserable noughties. How is it that in the millennium that the world first became capable of lifting everyone out of hunger and poverty all we got was Iraq, terror and human rights being flushed away in response? A howling, wailing refusal of the whole crock and about bloody time too.
–Photo by Damian Rafferty–
See more pics on Flykr

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