By Mel Minter
Neil Cowley Trio Displaced (HideInside Records)
Brash, punkish energy, hooks that could snag a whale and sheer invigorating exuberance mark the debut recording of the Neil Cowley Trio (with pianist/composer Cowley, bassist Richard Sadler and drummer Evan Jenkins). A taut ballad, a trancelike rocker, a miniature that recalls Vince Guaraldi, a conundrum set to music, a contemplative swinger—Cowley attacks everything with breathtaking dynamic flair and a surprising, adept touch. With a sure rhythmic feel and an irrepressible and infectious spirit, Cowley and the boys gleefully roll the tunes downhill in a headlong rush—almost, but never quite, losing control every time.
Miles Okazaki Mirror (available at www.milesokazaki.com)
A stunning debut, financed by guitarist/
Misha Piatigorsky Uncommon Circumstance (Misha Music Records)
It’s easy to see why pianist/
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Erika Wennerstrom • singer-