thu 23/11/2017

CD: Phronesis - Parallax | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Phronesis - Parallax

CD: Phronesis - Parallax

Warm-hearted lyricism and propulsive rhythms from the Scandinavian/British trio

Fascinating rhythm: Phronesis

It seems fitting that the propulsive playing of drummer Anton Eger is the first sound you hear on this latest studio recording by the Scandinavian/British jazz trio, Phronesis. While there’s plenty of warm-hearted lyricism and vibrant harmonic writing on the group’s sixth CD (their fourth for Edition Records), what’s really striking about Parallax is the absolute primacy of rhythm.

Whether it’s the unforeseen metric modulations of Eger’s brooding opener “67000MPH”, which serve unfailingly to catch the ear, the circling, highly charged rhythmic blocks of pianist Ivo Neame’s “OK Chorale”, or the precipitous surge of energy which suddenly lights up bassist Jasper Høiby’s “Stillness” (with some very effective doubling of lines in the bass and piano), it’s the elevation of rhythm to a position of central importance that marks the album out. Perhaps owing something to the subtle influence of both Thelonious Monk and Stravinsky, the trio constructs incredibly rich contrapuntal layers which in turn create a sense of inexorable momentum.  

As in their previous two releases, Life to Everything (2014) and Walking Dark (2012), all three members – Danish bassist Høiby, British pianist Neame and Swedish drummer Eger – contribute to the writing duties, penning three tunes apiece. And, as always with this trio, the element of surprise is never far from the surface, notably Eger switching from soft sticks to a pair of kitchen knives in “Stillness”, which completely opens up the kit's timbral possibilities, or the sense of playfulness that pervades Neame’s “Manioc Maniac”. 

Recorded in a single day in London’s Abbey Road Studio 2, the album possesses enormous bite and an exhilarating in-the-room immediacy – hats off to engineers August Wanngren and Gordon Davidson and captures a sound and a singular musical personality that have been forged over more than a decade of making music together.

@MrPeterQuinn

The album possesses enormous bite and an exhilarating in-the-room immediacy

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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