Trio E.P. Reviews
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Neil C. Young – Encemble
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His El Camino is a hot ride –The Examiner – Douglas Reid
Acclaimed UK jazz guitarist Neil C Young makes a bold statement in establishing his unique talent with the release of El Camino, he is quickly making a name in the U.S. Young’s big six-string sound weaves through a collection of delightful grooves and eclectic textures with the aid of bassist Alan Whitham and drummer Richard Young. Young’s gift for melodies in certainly the center of this eight song album; forward-looking but still grounded in tradition, El Camino is a great addition to the ever growing modern jazz sound.
The bright sounds of “Nutter Strut” start things with a clear message that the guitar will be behind the wheel of this El Camino. Young’s chords give way to an angular single line melody that is again juxtaposed with chords with melody. Young’s solo is well conceived and builds in a logical manner with use of call and response chords and single lines. The melody is restated with a nice interlude with intelligent use of dynamics giving the selection an aura of development and a sense of travel. Drummer, Richard Young does a great job of catching all the accents with Neil and giving the piece a solid forward motion. The selection ends with an enjoyable vamp.
The swing driven “The Wagon (it left without me),” finds Young making good use of his Scofield with a hint of roots rock blinkers to make left and right turns through the compositions byways. Those influences remain in the percolating rhythms of the melody and his improvised lines. Neil not only acknowledges these various influences, but also displays an in-depth knowledge of storytelling improvisations and well-crafted compositions, which Young gives credit to his studies with Gary Boyle and Fred T Baker at the renowned Birmingham Conservatoire.
“Bear Claw” follows; with its funk edged groove that finds its allure by the way Neil uses really simple melodic ideas to logically develop his musical statements. Neil has a wide palette of sounds, but what really make El Camino hum along is the textural backdrop of Whitham’s solid bass and Young’s in the pocket drumming. Throughout the selection each melodic statement is treaded with intense listening by this working trio; there is certainly a unique vibe coming from that feeling of cohesion.
Neil C. Young Live Solo gig. –Strays jazz
Last night’s solo guitar event was a debut for Tapas y Stray’s and what a debut it was! After managing to re-route from the A1 after a multi-vehicle collision, Neil started a little later than usual. What was to follow was something very special.
Neil sat on his high stool in front of a packed courtyard and played two sets of standards, with a few of his own compositions thrown in to mix things up a bit. The way Neil just sits and plays flat out sums up his enthusiasm for what he does – that enthusiasm passed on to the audience who gave much applause after each tune was finished.
During the break we reverted to one of our ‘Tapas playlists’ on the iPod and a track from Neil’s album ‘Solo Standards’ was playing. “Tell me Neil, is that overdubbed for the album using two guitars?” – I was promptly shown that the track was indeed, Neil playing all by his lonesome. He played it, there and then after which, there was no doubt! Chega de Saudade is the piece I was referring to and I promise you, it sounds even better when you’re watching it being plucked deftly by a funky northerner on a high stool!
Neil is with us for a few more dates this year playing solo guitar and if you want to experience a really personal, intimate gig, this would be the one to watch. Yes, his duo is in different ways, equally impressive but for me, there is no place to hide when you’re playing solo to a listening audience and in that environment, Neil C. Young excels.
Watching Neil play is like watching someone who is fluent in second language. After initially being impressed by the sounds, you then start looking at the technical ability and fluidity and finally feel slightly envious that so much talent is within one person!
I’m really looking forward to seeing Neil play solo again and if I’m not working, that might be the gig I’ll book to come and watch as a customer…
Neil C. Young – El Camino –Brent Black. Critical Jazz.com
No…wrong Neil Young, but better guitar player having progressed well past learning that third chord! Neil C. Young is an up and coming guitarist from the U.K. who while establishing a well respected reputation on the international scene with the release of El Camino, Young is quickly turning heads here in the States! A double Grammy Award long listed entrant in the improvised jazz solo (2011) and jazz instrumental category (2012), Young is doing his own riff on bands led by his contemporaries including John Scofield, Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny.
There is a organic yet soulful quality to his voice on guitar. A slight bit of what I call the jazz nasty includes an edgy style of fusion incorporating influences that run from bebop to bossa nova with just a splash of rock roots tossed in for flavor and texture. Harmonically, Young is charting his own course not to mention seven of the eight compositions contained on El Camino. For the uninitiated, “Sounds like…” is a bit unfair as every artist brings their own gift to the stage. Young’s prolific talent is not so much who he may sound like but the presentation of the trio as one unified voice. Young’s deceptively subtle swing combined with the funk infused groove of drummer Richard Young and for some the Jaco Pastorius first blood part two inspiration for bassist Alan Whitham are quickly separating this trio from the rest of the pack.
“Nutter Strut” opens the release with the clean punctuated sound of Young and a deep rich lyrical bass line from Whitham. Richard Young owns the pocket, swings hard and works as sort of a sonic adhesive to allow Young to stretch out shifting dynamics and meter at will. Kicking the swing up another notch is “The Wagon (it left without me) with the driving guitar and a unified lyrical sense of purpose the listener knows Young is indeed the real deal. Shifting meter without shifting attention away from the melody and avoiding the self indulgent sonic land mines so many young artists seem almost determined to set off has the harmonic table set for the harmonic hook of “Slashville” that stays with you long after the tune is over. “Bear Claw” is a funkalicious tune with an edgy groove and a rich harmonic excursion that slowly morphs into a blistering sonic exploratory. If all things Latin hit your musical sweet spot as they do mine “Scooter” has a smoldering Latin groove laid down just below the surface of the melody. The musical synergy brought about from this trio borders on the addictive. While initially sounding deceptively simple the nuances three stellar talents bring together make this a critics worst nightmare. Contemporary jazz? Jazz/rock? Fusion? Good music stands on its own and labels are for ingredients on food and El Camino will indeed feed that musical sweet spot. From the introspective ballad appropriately titled “Ballaed” to the more rock influenced “Slashville” the Neil C. Young trio is guaranteed to touch your heart and set your hair on fire all at the same time.
Same name fame –Northern Life Magazine
Neil Young has been nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award. No surprise there, only this Neil Young isn’t the rock superstar and guitar hero, but Neil Young the music tutor from Colne.
Colne’s Neil Young is a jazz guitarist who performs and records with his brother, Richard and friend, Allen Whitham as the Neil C Young Trio. Neil was amazed to hear that his record company had put his name forward for a Grammy in the ‘Improvised Jazz Solo’ category.
Now he’s waiting to hear if he gets through the judges’ selection process for the shortlist for the big Grammy ceremony in February in Los Angeles, where Lady Ga Ga will be the headline act.
“I didn’t know a thing about being nominated until I got a letter from my recording company, Canadian-American Records,” said Neil, 37. “I had to put the letter down, pick it up and read it again.”
Having the same name as the ex-member of the 1960s and 70s supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young has caused some confusion over Neil, who comes from a musical family.
“For a while I used to perform as Charlie Young because my middle name is Charles, but it just didn’t seem right,” Neil says. “Now I just stick to Neil C Young and hope people don’t turn up at our gigs expecting the famous Neil Young. Our music styles are totally different, although I’ve sometimes included his song ‘Rockin In The Free World’ as an instrumental in our set, to see if anyone got the connection.”
Neil attended Primet High School and Nelson and Colne College before going on to study at the top music university Birmingham Conservatoire. He went there to study violin and viola but swapped to guitar part-way through after deciding jazz was his forte.
Neil plays with younger brother Richard, who now lives in Manchester, on drums and Alan Whitham, from Colne, on bass. The trio have recorded three EPs then an album last year entitled ‘Where’s Yours?’
A track called ‘Driving To Montenegro’, inspired by a remark from Alan about his holidays, highlighted Neil’s improvised solo that impressed his record company enough to nominate him for the jazz solo award. The trio are just completing a new album ‘El Camino’ – Spanish for ‘the way’ and also a model of Chevrolet – due for release in the New Year.
Neil C. Young – El Camino –The Jazz Mann
Punchy but melodic fusion for unadorned guitar, bass and drums.
The Neil C. Young Trio
Neil C. Young is a guitarist and composer based in Lancashire who does most of his work in the North of England and the East Midlands. Between 1990 and 1992 Young studied guitar with Gary Boyle (mainstay of the fondly remembered 70’s Brit fusioneers Isotope and subsequently a successful solo artist) before moving on to Birmingham Conservatoire where his tutor was Midlands based guitarist/bassist Fred T. Baker.
On leaving the Conservatoire in 1996 he led the Ofay Jazz Quartet and Ofay Big Band playing jazz standards and has subsequently performed with Boyle, Birmingham based pianist Steve Tromans, trombonist Barnaby Dickinson and with the band The Latin Committee. His two main current projects are the trio featured on this album and the more rock orientated Rokasayers formed in 1999 by Young, bassist Simon Dale and drummer Richard Young, the core trio sound being augmented by the use of turntables, samplers and synths.
The Youngs (it’s not clear whether or not they’re brothers) are common to both groups with this trio being completed by electric bassist Alan Whitham. The music is still basically located in the fusion area with Gary Boyle’s influence readily apparent. Young also cites John Scofield, George Benson, Pat Metheny and pianist Keith Jarrett as inspirations and elements of all these are discernible in the trio’s blend of punchy but melodic fusion for unadorned guitar, drums and bass.
The self released “El Camino” represents the group’s second album and follows the earlier “Where’s Yours?”, a recording that elicited praise from the celebrated American writer and critic Bill Mikowski (writing for “Jazz Times”), biographer of the late, great Jaco Pastorius, almost certainly another source of inspiration. The all original programme of “El Camino” features seven pieces by Neil C. Young and one by Richard Young.
It’s Richard’s marvellously named “Nutter Strut” that kicks off the album (the trio have a definite way with titles) a breezy, high energy strut with Neil’s choppy guitar chording meshing well with Whitham’s springy, propulsive bass and Richard’s crisp rock/funk drumming. It’s unpretentious and fun with the hard hitting grooves laced with a sense of humour.
Neil’s “The Wagon (it left without me)” opens with a roll of Richard’s drums before settling into a pattern of alternating rock/jazz passages with Neil’s sparkling single note soloing (definitely a touch of Wes Montgomery here) underpinned by Richard’s busy rock influenced drumming and Whitham’s cushioning bass grooves.
“Slashville” (another great title) features a killer hook and groove (not unlike Isotope in their hey day) which forms the jumping off point for Neil’s chord based guitar explorations. Chuggingly insistent the piece has a way of getting under your skin and staying there.
“Anonaggen” represents a pause for reflection with its extended solo guitar intro. Whitham and Richard Young enter slowly on a piece that is initially more atmospheric than its jokey title might suggest. Whitham’s lyrical, liquid bass playing is a particular highlight before the tune moves up a gear to encompass something more funky and hard hitting. Definitely a performance of two halves but one that still finds room for a delicate coda.
“Ballaed” boasts another whimsical title but is a genuine ballad with Neil on delicately picked semi acoustic duetting with Whitham on resonant but lyrical electric bass. A total contrast to much of that which surrounds it the piece possesses real beauty and provides something of a palette cleanser before the slinky funk of the following “Bear Claw” with its insistent grooves and very different guitar and bass solos.
The energy levels are maintained with “Scooter” where Richard’s crisp, restless drumming underpins Neil’s nimble jazz guitar chording and Whitham’s Pastorius like bass. The latter solos in singing Jaco style above above Richard’s military like drumming before Neil returns to up the ante even more prior to a long groove based fade interspersed by further statements of the theme. Closing track “Slaphead” (surely he’s not referring to me) is a good final encapsulation of the trio’s jazz, rock and funk credentials with it’s catchy, hooky high energy riffs and grooves that bind all three elements together.
Although there’s nothing radical about “El Camino” the album is nonetheless a strong statement from a regular working trio who must be great fun to see live. Neil’s jazz subtlety and sophistication combines well with Richard’s powerful rock and funk influenced drumming and Whitham’s agile, Jaco inspired bass. The three interact very well to produce a group sound that is greater than the sum of its parts and which works very well. There’s more sophistication here than might be immediately apparent with the writing absorbing the listener’s attention throughout. This is not a type of jazz I listen to very often these days and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this album.
The trio occupy a niche that extremists at either end of the jazz spectrum are likely to dismiss but open minded listeners and particularly fusion and funk fans should find much to enjoy here. I’d like to think that the trio’s music might appeal to adventurous rock audiences too.
Neil C. Young – Where’s Yours? –Just Jazz Guitar Magazine – Eric Elias
“Where’s yours?” is Neil C. Young’s current release. This CD is full of life and soul. It opens with a bright original called “The Stockton 3.” Young blends both electric and acoustic guitar very nicely. The use of acoustic and electric guitars with the fat “Jaco” sounding bass reminds me of a Pat Metheny-influenced sound. But these tunes are new and original. Compositions are rich, harmonically. “Your watering eyes” is a beautiful ballad that is presented in a chord-melody style. Young draws the listener in with his dynamics and lush chordal work here. He plays the strings in the back-ground too, which add nicely to the sweet sense in this song. There is a little Latin influence with “Vuelta a Espana.” Which features vocal lines harmonized with the guitar. “Anon” is a beautiful ballad played on solo guitar.
While there are some nice compositions and chordal work on Where’s yours? This disc also gives Young a chance to show off some jazz and fusion chops. I really enjoy the emotion that Young displays in his originals. His compositions are wonderful. The melodies are harmonically sophisticated and very interesting. The arrangements are beautiful. Throughout the disc, the band grooves tightly and responds to one another nicely. I’m sure we’ll hear from Neil C.Young in the future. I’m looking forward to it. Where’s yours? is worth checking out.
Neil C. Young – ‘Where’s yours?’ –Bill Milkowski – JazzTimes Magazine
Brit guitarist Neil C. Young incorporates aspects of two of his obvious guitar heroes—Pat Metheny and Wes Montgomery—on this bright, appealing outing. On “The Stockton 3” he underscores his Wes-like octaves with Metheny-esque strumming on acoustic guitar. “Driving to Montenegro” is a breezy, harmonically sophisticated ditty that utilizes ringing harmonics and open-string effects, while “Waltz” is a reflective number performed on acoustic guitar, highlighted by Alan Whitham’s bass, Richard Young’s brushes and lush string arrangements. On “Parisienne Charlie,” Young plays with the subtle, walking-on-eggshells aesthetic of Jim Hall, and his solo nylon-string number “Your Watering Eyes” recalls Charlie Byrd. The trio swings out on “Think On” and digs into a festive samba groove on “Vuelta a España,” buoyed by Whitham’s Jaco-esque fretless electric bass work.
‘World class uniquely skilled instrumentalist’ –Joey Welz – CEO Canadian American Records
NEIL C.YOUNG hails from the U.K. And is developing an international fan base through our CANADIAN AMERICAN WORLDWIDE distribution program. We are releasing 2 new singles on our MIDEM World Wide Radio CD sampler early in January. Listen for “DRIVING TO MONTENEGRO”b/w“THINK ON” to attract attention to his new album entitled “WHERE’S YOURS”. We are also shopping his album for licensing deals at MIDEM to labels around the world to spread the word of this world class uniquely original instrumentalist.
Neil C. Young is an instrumentalist with a vision. –Smooth Jazz Daily
Neil C. Young is an instrumentalist with a vision. His vision is original and unique, not like any other artist we have ever heard. His melodies are memorable. This magnificent album contains his 2 break trough singles on Canadian American: “Think On” and ‘Driving To Montenegro”, being shipped to worldwide radio for airplay in Januray 2011. They are also shopping his album at Midem in Cannes, France, January,2011 for licensing deals with foreign labels from all over the world.
We are spreading the word about this gifted artist, because he is world class and will become world class in every listeners mind on Canadian American Records. What’s Yours is already on sale at CDBaby.
Trio make wonderful music. –David Kilpatrick, Burnley Express
‘Trio produced wonderful music’
Guitarist Neil C. Young comes from a family of musicians. He was a student of Viola at Birmingham Conservatoire before changing his first instrument to Guitar.
At the Bridge, Burnley, he was joined by his brother, Richard, on Drums and Alex Berry on Bass Guitar. They provide the rhythm for The Earlies band.
Neil began on his Guitar, acoustic in build, incorporating pick-ups for the sound system, dense chords flowing quite aggresively in funky rhythms.
The second number was quiet, perhaps in the style of Tal Farlow, developing an Afro-Cuban beat with the drummer on the rim. A swinging blues followed with the two guitars in close attention to each other. A tune on single notes became chordal against a choppy rhythm with sophisticated drumming.
The pace was stepped up to a bossa-nova beat with a thrilling conclusion. In the next number, the bass player established the line, the lead guitar added phrases and the drummer drove matters on like a railway engine. This was most complex. A change of mood became melodic with a rowdy coda.
A fractured introduction exploded with all players energetic and engaged. Bass guitar was allowed a solo. Richard began the next on a jet-stream beat. The guitars got the message, developing thick driving chords, which led into an item in which the rhythms were contrapropulsive. The music thinned out and thickened up again.
Drums began the next, with the guitars coming in nice and level. It became another bossa-nova, with the drumming really intense.
A ruminative bass solo brought in item 12. The guitars were more than ever together. To conclude, Cole Porter’s “Night and Day”, very elaborate, led into Ellington’s ” Caravan”, with an extended drum solo.
Over two hours of music, I picked up no signs of disharmony. The three players are all technically assured and make wonderful music together.
David Kilpatrick (Burnley Express – 09/03/07)
Chick(pea) Soup – ‘ready for the bigger festivals’ –Maxanine.nl
Not to be confused with the Canadian singer songwriter who already
started producing hits in the 60s, English jazz guitarist Neil C Young
brings his first CD. Not often do you hear a CD recorded so purely that
it feels as if you’re in the English pub yourself, looking and listening
to a “breed” musician. Still, Young did it, perhaps with less means
than most already established would do. You immediately hear the
feeling that Young puts with his fingers on a Gibson and Fender,
repeatedly you look around to see if he isn’t actually playing in a
corner of your living room. Opening with “the New Schmoo” Neil’s sound
shows he’s not only a master in playing the guitar, but also
perfectionist enough to write and play his own bass.
Sometimes it gets close to Dominic Miller, mixed with bossa nova, bebop
and blues, Young’s sound clearly shows a classical conservatoire
education. Richard Young immediately shows that he’s brilliantly
mastered the techniques of jazz drummer, then again he already showed
that earlier as a drummer in John Mayer’s Indo-Jazz Fusions. With 5
alternating instrumental jazz tracks on “Chick(pea) soup” Neil C Young
makes it obvious he’s ready for bigger festivals.
Neil C Young –Lancashire Telegraph
AFTER wowing crowds at the Romeria de Mayo Festival in Cuba and the Newark Jazz Festival, the Neil C Young Trio return to more familiar surroundings with gigs in Lancaster, Poulton-le-Fylde, Burnley and Manchester between August 6 and 31.
With a new album — Where’s Yours? — showcasing his trio’s undoubted talent and a growing worldwide following, thanks to a well-placed track on a popular Indian compilation, the next 12 months look set to become very hectic for the affable Lancastrian.
The Neil C Young Trio, which also features Richard Young on drums and Alan Whitham on bass, are a sight to behold as they move swiftly and seamlessly through their set of original compositions and bossa nova, bebop and blues numbers.
Nice work! –Will Phalen
I’ve been listening to My Crazy Pony EP and it’s great. Really excellent and unique arrangements. I’ve never heard a jazz album like it. Neil C Young is on to something…blending in the strings and synthy sound effects, it reminded me a bit of Jon Brion’s production of Brad Mehldau’s “Largo” album. Not that it sounded like it, but because there are elements from pop and rock production being applied to jazz, which is what Brion brought to the Largo record. And that’s what jazz needs these days…a fresh approach. Nice work!
My Crazy Pony Ep – ‘Crazy not to ride!’ –Bill Palmer – Avanti Display
It is possible to find intelligent, accessible music if you know where to look. I looked on www.introducingtheincredible.com and found the EP ‘My Crazy Pony’ by Neil. C. Young. The level of playing on this recording makes the music sound effortless, some tunes sounding like standards you just never heard before. The performances are assured and delivered with great feel so that from the Latin rhythm of ‘Time Will Sing’ to the lyricism of ‘Ballade’ or the relaxed swing of ‘ I Think Her Name’ something on this EP will shake or move you.
Apart from drums and percussion which are provided by his brother Richard (erstwhile drummer for The Earlies), all tracks on the CD are composed, arranged and recorded by the gifted Mr. Young. On ‘Time Will Sing’ the rhythm section is augmented by a string section also arranged and performed by this multi talented chap who, although known as a guitar player also makes the bass move along with an irresistible, un fussy groove.
The quality of the production is excellent and it’s hard to believe it was recorded and mixed on a laptop. This CD is an example of a kind of cottage industry and this trend, well established in pop and rock music, where musicians take control of the means of production, cut out the record company and market their work directly to the public, is relatively new to jazz and should be welcomed. I suggest you take this pony for a ride, you would be crazy not to.
Neil C. Young –Keith Ames – Musicians Union
Three track EP of excellent feel-good instrumental jazz from Colne Guitarist Neil in partnership with drummer Richard Young. The original The Green Man of Granada is an uplifting and entertaining melodic ride. More please.
Neil C Young – Take a seat ep –Rob Marshall. March 2006
In this high-speed world of quick fix downloads and digital information there it is sometimes little opportunity to relish some of music’s more delicate offerings.
In Neil C Young’s Take a seat e.p. We are invited to savour his trio of self-penned compositions, which blends an assorted mix of styles with his own unique and playful harmonizing. From the immediate fast bop of ‘That Darned’ through the gentle drifting, ‘The Green Man of Granada’, and ending with another Latin flavoured piece ‘Agua Calientes’; which always brings to my mind perfect accompaniment for an exotic coastal night drive. We are given insight into not only the artist tastes in guitar led jazz but also his gift of arranging simple themes with often-complex harmonies.
So why not take the time to kick off your shoes, sit back, relax and take a seat ~ and listen in to Neil C. Young.
Rob Marshall. March 2006