Trish Clowes & Ross Stanley: Journey to Where – Swing, emotion and atmosphere

A musical partnership of great sensitivity and strength

Journey to Where
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Artist: Trish Clowes and Ross Stanley
Genre: Jazz
Label: Stoney Lane Records

Trish Clowes is one of the brightest stars to have emerged during the so-called British jazz boom of the past decade or more. The 39-year-old London-based saxophonist and composer has led myriad groups, including the adventurous quartet My Iris, released eight strikingly inventive and highly acclaimed albums and shown a rare gift for integrating jazz and improvisation with classical composition – she has written for such prestigious ensembles as the London Sinfonietta and the BBC Concert Orchestra. “I like music that explores a lot of colours and textures, that is open to interpretation, to people’s imaginations,” she told me in 2018.

That admirable ambition is more than evident on Journey to Where – despite, on the surface, Clowes (pronounced “clues”) paring the music back to a more intimate duo with the English pianist (and regular band member) Ross Stanley.

The album, recorded in July 2021 in London’s venerable (and acoustically exceptional) chamber-music venue Wigmore Hall, where Clowes is an associate artist, offers a wonderfully diverse programme of compositions, including four originals, Duke Ellington’s Prelude to a Kiss and the traditional folk song The Month of January. There are also interpretations of Herbert Howells’s Gloucester Service and Marcel Dupré’s Prelude in G Minor – two Stanley favourites from his time as an organ scholar at Marlborough College. This is a pairing not afraid to head forward by looking back.

The playing is rarely less than inspired. Clowes’s tone on tenor, which she plays exclusively here, is a study in controlled vulnerability, at once warm, tender and assured. Like many of her influences, from Wayne Shorter through Joe Lovano to Iain Ballamy, she is a musician of great sensitivity and strength. As is Stanley; there are echoes in his singular playing of the quiet virtuosity of John Taylor, the harmonic sophistication of Bill Evans and the lyrical fluency of Wynton Kelly.


For all the rarefied setting and undoubted artistry, this is vital music full of swing, emotion and atmosphere. Something more than the sum of its parts is conjured up: a deep understanding, a musical bond, a little bit of magic perhaps.

Philip Watson

Philip Watson

Philip Watson is a freelance journalist and author. He writes about jazz for The Irish Times