Roy Powell studied piano and avant-garde composition at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England.
He first came to prominence in 1994 with his debut recording A Big Sky which was hailed as “a real bench mark in British contemporary electric jazz” by Jazz on CD. He then emigrated to Oslo, Norway where he collaborated on an album of free improvised music Holus which was described as “ an outstanding success” by Jazz Journal International.
His next release as a leader- North by Northwest featuring Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen was also a critical success as well as being selected as Best Jazz CD of 2001 by Amazon.co.uk. Solace which was released in 2003 received lavish praise including 4 stars in Downbeat.
His piece Bow Out has been performed by Oakland, Richmond, Cincinnati and Florida ballet companies His recordings have appeared in the Gramophone Jazz Good CD guide, Gramophone Classical Good CD guide, the Lord Discography, The new Grove Dictionary of Jazz as well as jazz magazines in Europe and the US and radio shows in the UK, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Holland, Scandinavia and the US.
Powell has recorded with and played concerts with many significant musicians including Art Farmer, Eddie Daniels, Jeff Berlin, Hadrian Feraud, Lorenzo Feliciati, Reggie Washington, Bobby Shew, Anthony Braxton, Vince Mendoza, Mike Gibbs, Iain Ballamy, Martin France, Frode Berg, Arild Andersen, Terje Rypdal, Mike Walker, Sigurd Køhn, Jarle Vespestad, Jacob Young, Terje Gewelt, Cuong Vu, Pat Mastelotto, Joel Harrison, Dan Weiss, Nils Olav Johansen, Dominique Di Piazza, Per Mathisen, Roy Hargrove, Nils Petter Molvær and Dave Liebman amongst others.
He is currently active in an organ trio InterStatic with Jarle Vespestad and Jacob Young and an international quartet Naked Truth with Graham Haynes, Pat Mastelotto and Lorenzo Feliciati. Both InterStatic and Naked Truth are released on RareNoiseRecords.
Mumpbeak is his first release on RareNoiseRecords as band leader, with Pat Mastelotto, Bill Laswell, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, Tony Levin and Lorenzo Feliciati.
English-born but norwegian resident pianist/keyboard player/organist Roy Powell, whose recent releases on RareNoiseRecords count two full length albums with Naked Truth (with Lorenzo Feliciati and Pat Mastelotto) and his organ trio InterStatic with Jacob Young and Jarle Vespestad, creates astonishing near-symphonic progressive rock-fuelled compositions in MUMPBEAK.
Using a heavily modified set of pedals and a Hohner Clavinet, he successfully fuses the sound and textures of organ, keyboards and touch-guitar into a dark, relentless sonic maelstroem, at times reminiscent of King Crimson, Rush and Stickmen. He is supported in this endeavour by a four magnificent bass players, Bill Laswell, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, Lorenzo Feliciati and Tony Levin, all overdubbed by Laswell himself and by master King Crimson and Naked Truth drummer Pat Mastelotto.
Thick and fast microtonal keyboard streams dance and wrestle with babelic bass voicings carried forward by relentless grooves and oblique drum fills; odd time signatures so typical of Progressive rock are here coated by an unheard-of gluttonous lick of bass, as they dance to the tune of and in support of the wonderful keyboard (guitar-like) melodic lines.
This album, recorded in Norway and New Jersey and mixed by Bill Laswell in New Jersey, marks the first time Bill Laswell can be heard playing with King Crimson alumni Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto.
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