COMPOSERS: Tom Cawley
PERFORMER: Curios: Tom Cawley (piano), Sam Burgess (bass), Joshua Blackmore (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: IMPS 003
The recent death of pianist Esbjörn Svensson leaves a big space in European jazz. Part of his legacy is a renewed appreciation of the potential of the piano trio.
That said, pianist Tom Cawley’s Curios, winner of this year’s BBC Jazz Awards’ Best Band prize, is not a power trio after Svensson’s EST mode.
Curios takes a more circumspect approach – Cawley picks at the edges of a tune before carefully resolving it. The pictures drawn in his original tunes are impressionistic with splashes of colour.
As a result, there’s no obvious focus on any of the players’ technique. Cawley is the mood maker and the drums and bass do much to frame the pieces. But this is a sensitive ensemble work.
Sometimes the musicians seem absorbed to the point of the music being suspended. It’s an effective device. And it’s a lovely album full of such surprises. Garry Booth