Andy Nowak Trio
Wednesday 23 May 2018
Andy Nowak is a Cheltenham born pianist and composer based in Bristol who is an active presence on that city’s jazz scene. His trio, often shortened to the modish abbreviation A.N.t. has been a presence on the jazz circuit in the West of England and South Wales since 2005. As a jazz pianist Andy Nowak has it all covered from cool to funky via clever and contemporary, paying his dues to the great jazz composers of the past in his own distinctive way.
As the A.N.t. abbreviation suggests the trio’s music is strongly influenced by E.S.T. with Nowak also citing Keith Jarrett and GoGo Penguin as other important contemporary influences. Further inspirations include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi and Brad Mehldau while Jason Rebello has voiced his admiration for “Sorrow And The Phoenix”. Outside of jazz Nowak’s influences include Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins and Captain Beefheart.
Sometimes it helps to take things slowly, and thus it was ten years after their first gigs together that the Bristol and London based A.N.t made their 2016 debut album Sorrow and the Phoenix. The collection of Andy Nowak’s compositions obviously benefited from the trio’s close-knit mutual understanding, the clear and catchy melodies leading to intelligently elaborated improvisations.
Critical acclaim from around the country was quick to follow, with Jason Rebello, no less, describing Sorrow and the Phoenix as “a wonderful album of lovely compositions and inventive playing…Watch out for this guy!”
The A.N.t. follow-up to 2016’s debut, Sorrow and the Phoenix, with another fine sequence of eight numbers (7 originals, plus Andy’s arrangement of the American traditional song “Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor”) is the new album, Reset. Welcoming drummer Steve Davis into the line-up alongside double bassist Spencer Brown, the Bristol-based pianist again delivers characteristically precise single-line melodies, with the entire acoustic ensemble perhaps placing an even stronger emphasis on propulsive, repeating rhythms.
“The ANt captivated our audience with imaginative and melodic compositions…Andy’s piano playing is naturally appealing and engaging…the crowd loved it.” Peter Kaczmarski, Jazz Cafe Posk
“…I was very impressed with this performance and also by the album which is both intelligent and highly melodic and features an unfailingly high standard of musicianship throughout. It’s an album that deserves to be widely heard.” Ian Mann, Jazz Blogger
“…Sounds great, really gorgeous, love the writing too – some beautiful and unexpected twists and turns…” Clare Teal, BBC Radio 2
“…Sorrow and the Phoenix sparkles impressively…this eight-track sequence of originals offers an increasingly attractive blend of crystalline serenity and snappy incisiveness.” Adrian Pallant, LondonJazz
“Andy’s adventurous Bristol 3 piece has been garnering outstanding reviews and a growing fanbase…and this can only be enhanced by the release of 8 cuts of imaginative small group piano jazz.” The Musician