Trish Clowes – A View With A Room: Album Review

Trish Clowes, with the new album, A View With A Room, has created a memorable musical landscape, with playing full of imagination and soul. A jazz album to treasure.

Release date: Available now

Label: Greenleaf Music

Format: CD & Digital

Trish Clowes is a jazz musician and composer, who is one of our most gifted saxophone players, able to take improvisation to dizzying heights of lyricism and emotional expression. With her excellent quartet, My Iris, Trish Clowes has been receiving considerable praise and recognition and has a growing reputation on the contemporary UK jazz scene. 

A View With A Room, is the fourth album made with the band, who consist of: Trish Clowes – tenor and soprano saxophones, Chris Montague – guitar, Ross Stanley – piano, Rhodes and Hammond organ and James Maddren – drums

Opening the album is the title track, A View With A Room. James Maddren’s driving and funky rhythm sets off the music, with Trish Clowes and Ross Stanley introducing the main theme with some angular cross phrases. The saxophone, piano, and guitar solos, strike up a sense of a really engaged conversation between friends, with each solo developing further the depth of the interaction. There are some stunning cymbal fills, that just add to the openness and warmth, that this track effortlessly exudes. It is a dynamic opening to the album.

Three of the tracks on the album are a celebration of women who have inspired Trish Clowes.  The Ness is a musical response to the work of filmmaker and collaborator Rose Hendry, and her work capturing the East Neuk of Fife coastline in Scotland. This is a stunning coastline that links together several fishing villages, and is evocatively matched in this piece of music.  The piece has two contrasting sections. The opening section has a quite hypnotic, dance-like rhythm, with some wonderfully playful trading of saxophone and piano solos, that are full of bright melodies. The second section takes a dream-like soundscape turn, with echoing and shimmering instruments, that flow into the sounds of waves gently crashing on the shore.

The track Amber is for Amber Bauer, CEO of the charity ‘for Refugees’. Trish Clowes is an ambassador for the charity and is raising awareness of their work on her current UK tour. It is an upbeat track, full of energy and space for the band to sonically soar, and for drummer James Maddren to exhibit an exciting palette of intricate and nuanced rhythmic patterns. The saxophone playing here is graceful, impassioned and effusive, and draws you into the music. A quite superb track.

Ayana is dedicated to Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a writer, marine biologist, and policy expert, in relation to issues around climate change. The opening segment releases washes of dissonant sound, followed by Trish Clowes’ yearning, searching tone, on the saxophone. The track is beautifully arranged, to allow each of the instruments to drift in and out of the mix, while also allowing the ensemble playing to slowly build the intensity of the music. Chris Montague’s guitar playing is particularly atmospheric here.

Almost, which is the closing track, features some of Trish Clowes’ most exquisite and expressive playing. Sometimes gentle and elegiac, as if the saxophone is speaking poetry. In other moments, the playing is flying high, communicating crescendos of emotion and soulful awakening. Almost nine minutes in length, you will experience with this track, some of the most fabulous music you are likely to hear this year.

There is so much on this great album to enjoy, and to keep returning to, as new musical layers are discovered and explored, in these impressive compositions. The level of musicianship and shared intent, leads to a telepathic like interplay within the quartet, as they interpret each composition. Trish Clowes has thus delivered an exceptional album, which At The Barrier has no hesitation in recommending. 

You can view here, Trish Clowes and My Iris playing A View With A Room, live at Ronnie Scott’s:

For more information about Trish Clowes: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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