Stanley Cowell

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Krentz Ratings:
Blues for the Viet Cong (1969), 7/10
Brilliant Circles (1969), 7/10
Illusion Suite (1972), 7/10
Handscapes (1974), 5/10
Regeneration (1975), 5/10
Equipoise (1976), 6/10
Sienna (1989), 6/10
Prayer for Peace (2010), 5/10
It's Time (2016), 6.5/10

Ohio-born and classically-trained pianist Stanley Cowell (1941), who relocated to New York in 1966 and played with Marion Brown (1966-67), Max Roach (1967-70), Bobby Hutcherson (1968-71) and Charles Tolliver (1969-71), crafted cerebral and occasionally romantic compositions that straddled the border between hard bop and free jazz on Blues for the Viet Cong (june 1969), in a trio, such as the seven-minute Departure, the eight-minute The Shuttle and the nine-minute Photon In A Paper World, Brilliant Circles (september 1969), including the 15-minute Brilliant Circles, for a sextet with trumpeter Woody Shaw, Tyrone Washington on tenor, flute and clarinet, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Joe Chambers, and Illusion Suite (november 1972), in a trio, containing even more elegant and complex pieces such as Maimoun, Emil Danenberg and Astral Spiritual.

Cowell then formed a keyboard ensemble, the Piano Choir Inc, documented on two volumes of Handscapes (1973 and 1974).

After wasting a quartet with alto saxophonist Marion Brown, bassist Billy Higgins and drummer Ed Blackwell playing Afro-soul-jazz-rock fusion on Regeneration (april 1975), and playing standards on electronic keyboards, Cowell returned to the trio format for Equipoise (november 1978), that contained Equipoise and featured bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Roy Haynes, and Sienna (july 1989), with Sienna, Sweet Song and I Think It's Time To Say Goodbye Again.

The solo-piano albums were always inferior collections of assorted covers and (recycled) originals that rarely stood out.

Cowell resumed his musical career with Prayer For Peace (february 2010), in a quartet with his 20-year old son Sunny (on viola and vocal), and It's Time (december 2011), in a trio with bassist Tom DiCarlo and the drummer Chris Brown. containing the 46-minute Asian Art Suite.

Juneteenth is an improvised solo piano recital with the 31-minute Juneteenth (recorded in november 2014) and the 17-minute Recollections.

Cowell died at the end of 2020.

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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