b. 5 November 1972, London, England. Cowley played piano from childhood, won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, and at the age of 10 performed classical music at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. His declared music influences, however, include artists as diverse as James Brown, Erroll Garner, Ahmad Jamal and Frank Zappa. From 14 Cowley was in a pub band and his own Mission Impossible; from 18 he was in soul and funk band Pasadenas, then Brand New Heavies, touring internationally and recording. As Diamond Wookie he recorded in 1997 and the same year became a member of psych-trance group Green Nuns Of The Revolution. In the late 90s, he recorded as Freil and collaborated with East West Connection and others.
In 2001, Cowley played keyboards with Zero 7, and from 2002 has led a trio with Richard Sadler (bass) and Evan Jenkins (drums). His song, ‘Rain Down Love’, co-composed with Siedah Garrett, was a 2007 hit for the Freemasons. His debut album with the Neil Cowley Trio, 2006’s Dis-placed, was an ambitious modern jazz collection that drew on Cowley’s experience of soul and electronica. The album was highly regarded and went on to win the BBC Jazz Awards Album Of The Year.