2012 remastered CD release of the scarce 1979 album.
From the CD sleeve:
The most welcome appearance of this out-of-the-ordinary album constitutes a timely reminder that too seldom do we get the chance to hear and appreciate the obvious talents of Laurie Holloway.
In face, "Cumulus" represents only the second occasion he has been able to display, at length on record, his twin abilities as pianist and writer. Modest though he is, Laurie is most happy to admit to being more than a trifle pleased with the results of this his second LP show-cast. When you too have heard "Cumulus" I'm confident you'll share Laurie's sense of fulfillment.
Asked to describe the stylistic qualities of "Cumulus", Laurie Holloway insists it should not be considered a Jazz album. "I have some kind of reputation as a Jazz pianist, as someone who has operated within a Jazz framework. But "Cumulus" isn't Jazz!" Asked to define more clearly the album's contents, he states simply, "It's an album of contemporary music - contemporary being used in the widest sense. With simple tunes, played very simply, in a nice, relaxed atmosphere, by first-class, thinking musicians. Nothing aggressive, really. But nothing bland. Just a rewarding, unpretentious get-together which has resulted in music that is not intrusive music, in face, which I might care to listen to having returned home after a few jars.
After selecting the tunes he thought best to record, Laurie contacted producer Monty Babson. Laurie chose to use both acoustic and electric piano. Not surprisingly, Dave Markee and Barry Morgan were booked for the three dates needed to complete "Cumulus". So, too, were John John Girvan and Hughi Burns (who shared guitar duties), and that remarkable singer Norma Winstone.
Laurie's decision to title all but one of the individual pieces with specific references to clouds came about after he'd listened to the music taped at Morgan Studios. "We found the music contained an ethereal quality. The kind of music, perhaps, you'd want to listen to as you're taking off in a 747. Light. Flowing. Simple. But sensitive".
"Cumulus" is packed with fine music-making. That the musicians involved achieve the magical spontaneity so vital to its overall success is readily apparent throughout an album which deserves top marks from any standpoint. Including that seldom achieved quality of real originality.
One can only hope that the release of "Cumulus" will mean we won't have to wait so long next time to get another chance of appreciating the individual talents of a much gifted musician who all too often has helped throw the spotlight on to others.
Footnote: Just in case those with astrological / meteorological leaning might be puzzled by the appearance of a mysterious Abigail alongside Nebula, Cirrus, etc, let Laurie Holloway provide the explanation: "Abigail refers to my younger daughter, Abigail Ann. The number was written for her in the first place, and I didn't want to change it. She's very ethereal, anyway..."
Stan Britt (Co-author of "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz)