Reviews of Trish Clowes
17/01/2018 John Fordham, The Guardian 4 stars
Clowes and her skilful quartet combined the intricacies of their current My Iris album with exhilarating and darkly funky new work that recalls the work of Weather Report.
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19/01/2017 Ivan Hewett, Pizza Express Jazz Club
'Everything Clowes does has an invigorating purposefulness...'
20/11/2014 John Fordham, The Guardian 4 stars****
Clowes’ The Fox, the Parakeet and the Chestnut – despite its child’s-tale title - bubbled with savvy surprises, from multiphonic effects blown into the piano’s soundbox, to breathy tenor-sax sounds against purring brass, and a strutting cello theme underpinning whimsically gliding sax ruminations. If those tentative 1920s genre-benders of symphonic jazz had witnessed the flexibility and relaxation shared by the jazz and orchestral players in this conversational setting, they wouldn’t have believed it.
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28/10/2014 Stephen Graham, Marlbank
POCKET COMPASS REVIEW:
4 STARS/RECOMMENDED - “beyond the obvious virtuosity the record contains some of the most absorbing original music in the jazz-classical idiom released this year… A fine achievement, one to add to any self-respecting list of jazz albums of the year.”
23/10/2014 Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise
POCKET COMPASS REVIEW:
4 STARS – “this is very stylish and heartfelt new music from a rising young sax star.”
09/11/2012 Ian Mann, The Jazz Mann
'And in the night-time... is a more coherent album than its predecessor and sees Clowes building on her immense promise...The Iris Nonet is a fascinating exploration of the interface linking the jazz and classical traditions. Clowes’ imaginative and colourful arrangements allow the strings to undertake a fully integrated role in the improvising process.'
10/10/2012 John Eyles, BBC Music Online
'All the compositions are Clowes originals. Time and again they demonstrate her ear for a strong melodic line...Central to the album is Iris Nonet, a three-part suite dedicated to Clowes’ late grandmother, on which the strings do not play a score but improvise an accompaniment. This gives the piece an edginess and freshness far removed from many jazz-plus-strings collaborations...More, please.'
06/10/2012 Bruce Lindsay, All About Jazz
'Shortly after the release of And In The Night-Time She Is There, her second album, saxophonist Trish Clowes became a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, an honor that goes to the most talented young musicians from the worlds of classical and jazz music. Clowes is a worthy recipient, not least because she crosses the increasingly blurred line between the genres, as a player and composer, with a maturity of thought and a breadth of imagination that belies her relative inexperience...And In The Night-Time She Is There establishes Clowes' credentials as one of the most exciting of the new generation of contemporary musicians.'
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22/09/2012 Josh Jennings - Jazz Shaped Blog
‘an album to sit back, relax to and admire its beauty...’ Josh Jennings, Jazz Shaped 22/09/2012
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17/09/2012 Peter Quinn, Arts Desk
4 STAR Review
‘Powerful, lyrical and with a sound-world that ranges from the austere to the ecstatic...’
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11/09/2012 J J Wheeler, thejazzbreakfast.com
‘There is a beauty rooted in the often understated structures and seemingly simple (yet often surprisingly complex) ideas...’
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01/08/2012 Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise
‘Clowes’ melodies are memorable...It’s a highly engaging recording’ **** Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise 01/08/2012
09/01/2011 Bruce Lindsay - All About Jazz
Trish Clowes' Tangent is an ambitious project that brings together free improvisations, small band numbers and full-scale orchestral pieces to create a fascinating collection of new music. Projects of this scale in jazz are far from easily achieved, and the fact that this is composer, leader and tenor saxophonist Clowes' debut—recorded at the age of 25—renders her ambition, and the project's success, praiseworthy, indeed.
Clowes is accompanied on Tangent by some of the brightest and most innovative of Britain's jazz musicians, including the superb bass and drums duo of Calum Gourlay and James Maddren, trumpeter Freddie Gavita, pianist Huw White and guitarist Chris Montague. In addition she has drawn together a fine orchestra that includes jazz players such as bass clarinetist James Allsopp, as well as some excellent young classical players. Pianist Gwilym Simcock, who also produced the album, plays on two numbers.
Clowes' tenor playing, which has been compared to that of Stan Getz, is warm and economical. She also appears to be a refreshingly democratic and modest leader—there is nothing here that simply acts as a showcase for Clowes' tenor. Indeed, there are opportunities for Clowes to assert her own playing much more than she actually does. Her own solos are usually brief, and often in the middle of the mix rather than out in front, especially in the tunes that feature the larger instrumental lineups. As a result, other musicians sometimes make the most immediate impact—cellist Heidi Parsons on "Search," for example—while Clowes doesn't even appear on "Chalk," one of three improvised pieces.
Clowes' own instrumental voice is most clearly presented on the other two improvisations, with "Duet" the simplest and the most accessible. Clowes follows trumpeter Nick Smart’s lead on this jagged, angular, piece, her soft-toned tenor initially acting as a counterpoint to Smart's brighter and more assertive playing until the two eventually swap roles and Clowes becomes dominant. On "Blues for Frisell," Clowes combines smoky, bluesy playing with Montague's loosely strummed guitar.
Both of the full orchestral numbers, "Sketch" and "Coloured Eye," are complex, multilayered, compositions—the latter blessed with a rich string arrangement, which complements Kathleen Willison's vocal interpretation of Jessie Jones' lyrics, and Clowes' sweeping solo. However, the tune that best showcases Clowes' range of abilities is "The Master and Margarita," inspired by Mikhail Bulgakov's eponymous novel. It reflects the mystery and energy of the novel—the atmosphere is set up immediately by emphatic playing from Clowes, Maddren and cellist Louise McMonagle—as well as demonstrating the young saxophonist's ability to write and arrange for a small ensemble.
Tangent is an impressive debut which makes clear Clowes' emerging talents as a musician, composer and arranger. With her abilities established, Clowes has the potential to become a distinctive new voice on the UK jazz scene.
12/11/2010 Gordon Wedderburn, thejazznetworkworldwide.com
Trish Clowes sets the bar very high at the London Jazz Festival 2010:
"The London Jazz Festival 2010 began its musical journey through the Capital in a manner akin to an Olympic games opening festivities. Think Beijing, in the form of opening act, Trish Clowes.
She & her sextet masterfully introduced her debut album, "Tangent", in the Clore Ballroom, Southbank Centre to a packed foyer that for an hour, housed a hugely appreciative and captive audience that seemed to cling to her every note.
The diminutive & petite figure of Trish approaching the stage completely belied the controlled, hauntingly serene opening notes of, "Prelude to a sketch", the opening track of the album. Indeed, for me it revealed the first glimpse of an accomplished musician.
Throughout her short set Trish painted pictures, wove tapestries and told stories in her own notes. Her interpretation of poem & novel that bore significance to her, exposed a precocious talent adept at the art of composing, (yes, the music on the album was composed by her), that will certainly sustain the creation of excellent music for years to come.
Trish and the gifted group of young musicians that supported her, seamlessly took the music, (and the audience), to different levels, weaving their way effortlessly through each piece.
They closed the show with the marquee piece, "Sketch", which was executed to perfection, minus the orchestral component characterised in the album version.
A totally enjoyable experience that made braving the poor weather to witness brilliance, all the more worthwhile.
The future of UK Jazz is in good hands!!"
31/10/2010 Dave Gelly, The Observer
“With the rising generation of British, college-educated jazz musicians, it's often hard to separate the instrumentalist from the composer. Take 26-year-old Trish Clowes. She plays wonderful tenor saxophone with a lightness of tone reminiscent of the young Stan Getz and composes luminous music that inhabits that intriguing world at the ill-defined edges of jazz and contemporary classical music. The nine pieces on her debut album range from a improvised duet with trumpeter Nick Smart to two compositions for 35-piece orchestra. Most of the names listed are new to me, which is exciting in itself.”
29/10/2010 Jack Massarik, the Evening Standard - 4 Stars
“Not many young women have broken through the ranks playing tenor sax but Trish Clowes is a stylish exception. Her pure, lyrical sound has been likened to Stan Getz but I hear Charles Lloyd, especially in the upper register. She writes remarkably well too, not only for a conventional jazz line-up but also for strings, and for a player as eminent as pianist Gwilym Simcock to guest on her debut album is further indication of her talent. Look out for her in 2011 and at Ray's Jazz at Foyles at 6pm on the opening day of next month's London Jazz Festival.”
24/10/2010 Julian Joseph - Jazz Line-Up, Radio 3
“[Trish Clowes] has a tone and style that is reminiscent of Iain Ballamy, with whom she studied, and she writes tastefully for orchestra as well as her band… The music is ambitious, fresh and experimental. Trish is a talent to watch for 2011.”
15/10/2010 The Yorkshire Post
“Jazz players generally have to wait for senior status before they get orchestral accompaniments, but Trish Clowes, a young tenor player and composer, has gone that route for her debut. And a fine album it is too, full of promise and interesting ideas. The presence of pianist Gwilym Simcock as a guiding hand is beneficial, but Clowes scores with a light, spacious and uncluttered style, aided by a good sextet and some attractive writing for the orchestral passages. She's plainly a talented player with a bright future.” AV
08/10/2010 Chris Parker - Vortex Jazz Club
“Clowes's affecting tenor sound achieves an almost Getzian purity, buoyed either by Tangent's experienced rhythm section or by the adventurous orchestral settings of 'Sketch'… the music is intensely melodic, fluent and cogent, and some of the 'guest' appearances, notably Louise McMonagle's cello solo on 'The Master and Margarita' and the contribution of trumpeter Freddie Gavita to the same track, are finely judged… Tangent [the album] is both a useful showcase for her considerable compositional and instrumental talents, and a satisfying appetiser for Tangent's [the ensemble] winter 2010 UK tour.”
07/10/2010 John Fordham, the Guardian
“Clowes has a warm and sensuous sound, reflective at times of Bobby Wellins and Stan Getz, and she avoids playing fusillades of notes where a handful will serve the music better. The repertoire is intelligently paced between lilting or brooding episodes such as the Dreamer… open improvisation in Clowes's duet with trumpeter Nick Smart, and uncluttered vocal lyricism in Kathleen Willison's account of the Latin-inflected Coloured Eye near the close… Clowes's promise – and ambitious vision – is palpable.”
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