wed 27/05/2020

CD: Phronesis - Walking Dark | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Phronesis - Walking Dark

CD: Phronesis - Walking Dark

Fourth album confirms their position as one of the great piano trios of our time

Unanimity of phrasing, nuanced dynamics, super-fine precision: Phronesis

This fourth album from Scandinavian/British jazz trio Phronesis is the follow-up to their much-lauded 2010 release Alive, chosen as 'Jazz Album of the Year' by both Jazzwise and MOJO magazines. It's also the first in which all three of its members – Danish bassist Jasper Høiby, British pianist Ivo Neame and Swedish drummer Anton Eger – contribute to the writing and arranging duties. And it's all the richer for it.

This fourth album from Scandinavian/British jazz trio Phronesis is the follow-up to their much-lauded 2010 release Alive, chosen as 'Jazz Album of the Year' by both Jazzwise and MOJO magazines. It's also the first in which all three of its members – Danish bassist Jasper Høiby, British pianist Ivo Neame and Swedish drummer Anton Eger – contribute to the writing and arranging duties. And it's all the richer for it.

The album opener and title track is a typically Høibyesque creation, beginning with a pointillistic riff that gets tapped out, Morse code style, by all three players before it splinters off in three different contrapuntal directions. This then cleverly segues into the sustained, impressionistic reverie of Neame's “Passing Clouds” which is altogether freer – the legato after the staccato. Eger's “Democracy” showcases the trio's remarkable unanimity of phrasing, nuanced dynamics and super-fine precision. Purely in terms of composition, Walking Dark offers three singular yet surprisingly complementary voices.

Representing the culmination of work they've been exploring live since their second release, Green Delay, the album title refers to a series of concerts the trio played in total darkness as a dedication to Høiby's visually impaired sister. As the bassist notes: “The Pitch Black project has provided us with the opportunity to focus on the intuitive aspect of how we communicate musically between ourselves, and with the listener. For me personally, it's also been a way of giving something positive back to my sister, who continues to walk in darkness.”

Critically, while there are often quite complex things going on beneath the propulsive grooves and busy surface activity of tunes such as “Upside Down”, “The Economist” and “American Jesus”, Phronesis never descend into abstruseness. Walking Dark confirms their position as one of the great piano trios of our time.

Watch Phronesis perform “Walking Dark” at the 2011 Montreal Jazz Festival

In terms of composition, Walking Dark offers three singular yet surprisingly complementary voices

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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