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.

***.5

The 2021-2022 Austin Music Awards Music Poll is underway. Vote now for your favorite bands, venues, and music until January 31.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 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  

READ MORE
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
Jay Trachtenberg’s Top Books of 2021
Jay Trachtenberg’s Top Books of 2021
In a lost year, retrospectives and reprints with new context were comfort reads

Dec. 17, 2021

New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

April 16, 2021

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
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

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

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