Just spent the morning in the U.S. Embassy getting a visa. What a drag. And for some reason people were drawn to me for information about what to do. Must be the grey in my beard.
Anyway, I play drums with the Neil Cowley trio. We’re from London, England, and are what people call post jazz—go figure. It’s kind of jazz for people who don’t like jazz, if that makes any sense.
We released our fourth album this year, The Face of Mount Molehill, and things have been rocking along nicely. Neil plays piano and Rex plays acoustic bass. We’re quite the worldly bunch, as I was born in New Zealand, Rex is from Australia, and Neil is English.
We hit the U.S. for some dates in October, having spent most of our time this year playing festivals like the Montreal Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz, and the Montreux Jazz Festival, where we filmed a live DVD due for release early next year.
For me it’s all about old drums. I own a set of 1965 Ludwig Super Classics and an old early ’60s Rogers kit. I used both these kits on the new record, and they sound fantastic, thanks to our producer, Dom Monks, and the fabulous RAK studios in London. Broken cymbals often find their way into my setup as well, but hey, if they sound cool, why not.
So I’ve been a professional drummer since the age of sixteen and have been lucky enough to play with the likes of Mick Jagger and the late Ronnie Scott. More recently I recorded alongside Eric Clapton. These are wonderful musical moments for me, and I have to say that more and more these days it’s about playing with people I like. Nice people.
Yes, I studied with teachers as a kid and also went to a conservatory of music, but a lot was learned on the gigs as well, and I always made sure I was out there gigging as much as possible. I’ve played some crazy gigs with some crazy people. It’s all shaped me into the player I am today, and I’m happy with that.
I get great pleasure out of playing in the trio with Neil and Rex, as these guys are not only fabulous musicians but are interesting characters, and that is reflected in their playing. They are supportive musicians and have firepower when need be. A nice combination.
If I was to recommend some tracks to check out on Youtube (yes, we have videos), I’d say check out “Fable” and “Rooster was a Witness.” That should give you a fair idea of where we’re at right now. Of course, you can get more info at neilcowleytrio.com.
Finally, a big shout out to Zildjian cymbals, who have been a great support along the way.