Astrid Cowan

Swing Team

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Cowan is a younger pianist, originally from Detroit, who moved to San Francisco in 1973 to study with Katrina Krimsky, and is now living in L.A. Her understated, lush sound is quite reminiscent of any number of cool jazz pianists, but moreso of George Shearing. No earth shaking or groundbreaking here, just a pleasant program of light, lively instrumental jazz for foot bathing or a good massage. Three selections are written by Cowan, all using Brazilian rhythms; "Thursday Night At Pasquale's" sets a romantic tone, trio only, in a slow bossa setting, "Salida Del Sol" a typical bouncy samba with some brush flourishes by drummer Chris Wabich and flawlessly pristine guitar sounds from Ron Berman, and "Silver's Sox," another bossa featuring the Diz informed trumpet of Jerry Rusch. The ace in the hole throughout is the stellar bass work of Richard Simon, he's a jewel. Standards are measured in respectful, hushed tones. "I've Got The World On A String" is slow, "Billie's Bounce" is done mid-tempo, both with the able Rusch. Cowan takes a back seat to Berman on many occasions, and the guitarist steps up with some beautiful Kenny Burrell-like hits, the high point a ten minute take on on the hopeful, jubilant ballad "A Child Is Born." Cowan is a blossoming talent whose ear for classical music and love of jazz and the American popular song is well rendered in a subtle manner on this hour's worth of music. It's a style only a hopeless romantic can understand or interpret. Have plenty of wine and your partner on hand for this program of laid back music.