Terry Bowness

Stick Figures (Aardvark)

Texas Platters

Terry Bowness

Stick Figures (Aardvark) A lot's happened musically in the four years since Austin pianist/composer Terry Bowness released his acclaimed, self-titled debut. While that introductory volley was a rather straightforward affair, it's obvious that Bowness, who commands the piano seat in Los Jazz Vatos, has kept his ears opened in the interim, incorporating the ubiquitous influences of hip-hop, jam, and electronica into his musical vision. In that respect, Stick Figures is like two albums in one. Of the eight original compositions, roughly half are extroverted electro-grooves with Bowness alternating between creamy and crunchy modes on his Fender Rhodes piano while getting help from the likes of Blaze leader/stickman Brannen Temple, bass maestro Roscoe Beck, turntablist Nick Nack, and gunslingers David Grissom and Mitch Watkins. The other half of the album is taken almost directly from the ECM playbook of measured, contemplative, spare piano meditations. It results in a dramatic, if not schizophrenic, yin and yang that more often than not works in a surprising, complementary way. There's even a tune, "Asteroids," that combines both schools into a backbeated, icy space journey. Bowness and Watkins sooth this baby to sleep by transforming the not-often-covered Lennon/McCartney jewel "Across the Universe," into a lovely and ethereal lullaby. Four years can be a long time, but this up-to-the-minute project has been worth the wait.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Fall Platters
Jeff Lofton
Jericho (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Nov. 29, 2019

Texas Platters
Golden Dawn Arkestra
Darkness Falls on the Edge of Time (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Sept. 20, 2019

More by Jay Trachtenberg
Turning the Page on the Year in Books
Turning the Page on the Year in Books
New works by Cormac McCarthy and Sarah Bird make for a memorable year in literature

Dec. 16, 2022

What We’re Listening to This Week
What We’re Listening to This Week
Angela Strehli, Quentin Arispe, and an improvisation supergroup

Nov. 11, 2022

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle