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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Jazz "Bridge" between Denmark, Sweden and Britain!, 26 April 2012
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This review is from: Walking Dark - Phronesis (Audio CD)
Phronesis are regular visitors to the Jazz scene in the UK, so many people will have already heard some of the material here, from seeing them live, where they really stand out. Their last album Alive was of course recorded live and had a guest drummer, but this album sees them return to their current touring line-up with Swedish drummer Anton Eger.

This is a studio album and so doesn't have the same exciting "edge" of their live performances, but makes up for this in clarity and a considered approach. It still sounds very much like the band has before, but the compositions have been spread out amongst the band. So, rather than being the band of Jasper Hoiby, the Danish Double Bass player who used to provide all the written material - it is now more of a co-operative venture and it is maybe no coincidence that one of Eger's tunes is called "Democracy".

We also seem to get more of Ivo Neame, the British pianist than before. Usually trios with this line-up are lead by the pianist - but maybe he was holding back before in deference to Hoiby as leader and driving force. Now it is a democracy, each player contributes and gets to say what they want, perhaps?

The music is characterised by strong melodies, often stated jointly by piano and bass, with a great feel for groove. They are incredibly strong rhythmically and each tune has interest in this area. Eger in particular is restless and endlessly inventive - the recording has captured the shifting textures and timbres of the percussion very well, making for fascinating listening in this respect.

Stand out tune for me is the opening title track "Walking Dark" - which sparked the concept of playing in pitch black, highlighting the improvisational interplay and forcing the audience to concentrate on the music - but this is also a tribute to Hoiby's sister, who lost her sight. Great groove throughout and many other tracks have unique rhythms which may owe more to Hip Hop than Jazz.

Bass sounds wonderful throughout - in supportive riffs or deft solos. Piano also sounds more classical than Jazzy at times - well recorded and expansive sound. But there is a group sound that is becoming unique to this band and marks them out from other piano/bass/drums trios. Always best heard live - but this is a very worthy addition to their catalogue and some great new material from all the band. Highly recommended.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Apr 2012 11:09:23 BDT
Kmart999 says:
Nice review - thanks.
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