QOW Trio - The Hold Up

2024 CD release

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Anyone whose musical taste yearns for the type of '50s and '60s sounds of artists such as Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean and Lee Morgan, may find The Hold Up is just what they seek. This is the second album from the Qow Trio (pronounced Cow). Taking their name from a composition on Dewey Redman's album, Coincide (Impulse, 1974), the trio are linked by a love of the tradition and the freedom to explore the saxophone, bass and drums format, without a chord in sight.

The elder statesman of the trio is British drum legend, Spike Wells. He helped put the swing into swinging '60s London and is best known for his long association with two of the greatest British tenor saxophonists, Tubby Hayes and Bobby Wellins. He also played with many musicians from the same scene including Dick Morrissey, Humphrey Lyttelton, Gwilym Simcock and a host of others, His long association with Ronnie Scotts also led to him accompanying international names of the calibre of Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Art Farmer and Cedar Walton. It is quite a career and there are few that could match him when it comes to name-dropping.

Bassist Eddie Myer, a member of the rock band Turin Brakes, also leads his own band, the hard-swinging Eddie Myer 5tet. Based in Brighton, he also works as a teacher, a promoter and leads a number of jazz-based projects in the area for young musicians. The line-up is completed by saxophonist Riley Stone-Lonergan, a former member of The National Youth Jazz Orchestra, he has played in various group formats and has released recordings with Family Band, Perpetual Motion Machine and Locus. He also plays with Myer in the Eddie Myer 5tet.

Here there are eight covers and four Stone-Lonergan compositions, three of which open the album. Starting with "High Noon," the vintage atmosphere is immediately apparent. A repeating saxophone motif builds into a fast-moving improvisation over bustling drums and bass. The title track shows Stone-Lonergan's compositional ability with a catchy vamp, before moving off into a solo, supported by short drum interjections from Wells and a bass solo from Myer. Stone-Lonergan is at his free-flowing and expressive best on "I Gotta Grape Drink," aided by a supple bass whilst Wells makes drumming and shifting rhythms seem effortless.

The highlights among the covers include a gracefully controlled version of Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington's "Star-Crossed Lovers." "Along Came John," by American organist Big John Patton, is underpinned by fluid and open drumming from Wells. Myers rhythmic bass supplies the lines originally created by Patton's Hammond, while Stone-Lonergan carries the melody. The trio also brings neat timing and swagger to the buoyancy and bustle of Jackie Mclean's "Hip Strut."

Elsewhere there is a surprising, but neatly arranged, version of Stephen Foster's "Hard Times Come Again No More," great interplay in Thelonious Monk's "Bright Mississippi," and Stone-Lonergan's "Bastard Gentlemen" finds the trio pushing hard but in full control.

The trio keep everything loose and fun, while keeping the quality of their exchanges and energy levels at a high pitch. Their fluency in melding tradition-grounded language with contemporary jazz, together with sparkling spontaneity, keeps the entertainment standard high. As well as the name of a Dewey Redman track, QOW is also associated with an American military term for Quality of Work; in this instance, it is perfectly apt.



SKU 5060451220650
Barcode # 5060451220650
Brand ubuntu music

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