Since winning the Young Jazz Musician of the Year award in 1998, during the time he was occupying the piano chair at NYJO, he has played all over the world and led bands in residencies at New York’s Blue Note club and Ronnie Scott’s.
He has been instrumental in shaping the unique sound of the genre-bending iconoclasts Acoustic Ladyland, as well as writing and arranging songs with Gwyneth Herbert for her Blue Note debut album Between Me And The Wardrobe.
His much-acclaimed group, Curios, a vehicle for Tom’s original music, made its debut in 2007. The album Hidden made a startling impact on the jazz scene, winning a nomination as Best Album in the BBC Jazz Awards and reaching the top five in both the HMV and Radio 3 Jazz Charts.
Curios subsequently recorded a radio session for Jazz on 3, and were invited to appear at the new Royal Festival Hall. Critic John Fordham placed them on the cover of Jazz UK magazine and wrote: “Just when you think EST, or Brad Mehldau, or The Bad Plus might have taken the piano trio as far as it can go, another keyboard talent opens another door. Pianist Tom Cawley has done just that with Curios”.
As a composer, Tom’s writing is informed by romantic classical music as much as by jazz, and his piano playing betrays many influences: Phineas Newborn, Brad Mehldau and all points in between. He has written for many types of ensemble, from a string quartet to a big band, and has had compositions played in large venues such as the Royal Festival Hall and the Cardiff Millennium Hall. Despite this breadth of experience, his style is his resolutely his own.