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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 April 2014
In the reviews I have seen for this album, Phronesis have been referred to as a "piano trio". But I think in this album, you see the reasons why they are not such a thing and are in fact a three-way collaboration. So there are 9 tracks here and each of the band members have written three - a perfect split.

If anything, the band are lead by Jasper Hoiby, whose bass grooves define most tunes - with their odd times and syncopations. Anton Eger is also very much a featured soloist and his incredible storms of percussion seem to get the loudest applause from the audience. This is a live album, but was recorded over 2 days under studio conditions - in interviews the band have explained how they could get the best sound in this venue and you only really notice it as being live, when the audience interject. The sound is as good as you could want and everything is very clearly recorded - plus you get the excitement and improvisation of a live Jazz gig.

Phronesis's most successful album for me was Alive - Phronesis and this follows very much in that tradition - it's all about how the three interact and play off each other - although the earlier album was very much Jasper Hoiby's band - but now the others have developed into equal partners and particularly Ivo Neame's contributions have become hugely impressive - perhaps informed by having his own solo career, since then. His invention on piano makes every track distinctive and there are beautiful tones, but everything is rhythmic and crisp. Personally I still prefer Jasper Hoiby's wonderful bass grooves, but the compositions from the others fit perfectly into the overall Phronesis sound and this is another excellent release, from one of the most interesting Scandinavian/British Jazz collaborations.
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on 15 July 2014
HOW MIGHT ONE define ‘supergroup’? In some popular genres, it may well constitute questionable talent, shallow fame, social media infamy, gold discs, the trashing of hotel rooms or hanging around a decade too long in hideously bright designer lounge suits!

OK, so a tongue-in-cheek generalisation. But, in the case of Phronesis, that hugely popular Anglo-Scandinavian powerhouse of contemporary jazz, their success refreshingly reflects their consummate musicality, impassioned creativity, unequivocal scholarship and acceptance of the challenge to be different. Double bassist Jasper Høiby, pianist Ivo Neame and drummer Anton Eger feature prominently, and separately, in many of today’s exciting line-ups. But, make no mistake… when they slot together to record and perform as Phronesis, selling out venues from the UK to the USA and Canada, and to Australia, this trio becomes one of jazz’s supergroups.

With three studio albums to their tally (most recently, 2012′s Walking Dark) and already an acclaimed live album (Alive!, 2010), Danish-born Høiby is widely acknowledged as the band’s architect. But any thoughts of hierarchy end there, for the three have worked together in this remarkably balanced collective for almost a decade, committing themselves to the development of a wholly unified approach and honing what can only be recognised as complete mastery of their art.

In this new live release – recorded before enthusiastic in-the-round gatherings over three nights at The Cockpit during 2013′s EFG London Jazz Festival – the trio demonstrate more clearly than ever their established, democratic principle of writing and performing. And rather than interpreting previous studio album material, they bravely unleash a blistering, multi-layered assault and batterie on the senses with nine astonishingly intricate new works, evenly sharing the compositional credits. Since its release a few weeks ago, I have been drawn deeper and still deeper into this mesmerising hour-long spectacular, increasingly rewarded by the staggering display of telepathy, invention and musicianship – and Phronesis clearly revel in and respond to the close, attentive appreciation of their audiences.

Visually and sonorously the trio’s backbone, Jasper Høiby ‘lights the touch paper’ with his pliant bass intro to Anton Eger’s Urban Control. The piece bursts into life with customary fervour, Ivo Neame’s piano glistening over Eger’s skittering percussion and Høiby’s unyielding exploration of the fingerboard. Phronesis always balance improvisation and tight mechanics so perfectly, blending expressive freedom with pin-sharp communication and structure, resulting in the most engaging of experiences. Phraternal finds a rare moment of contemplation, led by the composer’s piano; and, in contrast, the nine minutes of Høiby’s Behind Bars are simply breathtaking, building in intensity, yet so finely calculated – and Eger’s contribution (to see is to believe!) is frenetic almost beyond words.

Ever the searchingly-melodic pianist, Ivo Neame’s Song for Lost Nomads skips to his staccato left hand, Høiby and Eger tracking every phrase; and the smouldering Wings 2 the Mind from Høiby, with those now-characteristic Phronesis unison piano and bass phrases, bubbles away until anticipatory chimes coax this almost peerless drummer into another powerful display. No let-up in momentum, Nine Lives flies like the wind – and the writer’s double bass dexterity would be quite unbelievable had I not witnessed it many times before.

Neame takes a subtle step into the spotlight in his sprightly Deep Space Dance – a distinctive, creative pianistic style which is upheld beautifully by his colleagues. Two compositions from Anton Eger complete the album. Herne Hill shimmies infectiously (much to the delight of the audience), exhibiting such intelligence and shared understanding of dynamics and tempo. And, finally, Dr Black sums up the essence of this compelling trio, seemingly throwing at it every technique they possess, including a drum showcase which no doubt includes various kitchen items except the sink! – every time, a real thrill to listen to.

Life to Everything is likely to hit very high on the 2014 jazz seismograph, such is the calibre of these performances – and all from a set of live (and particularly superior) recordings.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything” (Plato)
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on 14 September 2014
This is continuing development of one of the most exciting piano trios around today!
The rhythmic interaction is so carefully crafted & locked in that it's truly joyful. With this level of playing it could become robotic but these guys really are organic & have built up this rapport over years, so it's more like listening to an in-depth discussion on quantum physics with old friends that banter but have the highest respect for each other!
Dig it, buy it!

Am totally loving jazz-dancing to this!
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on 22 June 2014
This live album reminds me of the Village Vanguard sessions from Bill Evans - yes, it's that good. The intensity of the performances is remarkable, with wonderful improvisation and interplay between Jasper Hoiby on bass, Ivo Neame on piano, and Anton Eger on drums. Great sound quality for a live recording. Edition records have released many fine albums, and this is another one.
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on 1 December 2015
Absolute top notch live album from this truly great trio. All are master musicians feeding off each other and creating really inspired music.
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on 21 August 2014
Simply stunning. It gets better every time I listen. A serious contender for Best Jazz CD of 2014.
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on 23 November 2014
An amazing live recording by this hugely talented band. Contemporary Jazz at it's best!
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on 26 January 2016
We have seen the group in Holland, Hertogenbosch and we were flabbergasted.
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on 10 August 2014
Excellent dynamic piano trio - highly recommended live performance
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on 1 May 2014
It's hard to pick a favourite in such an incredibly talented trio. But if forced I'd have to say it's Anton Eager purely because he is one of the best drummers alive today - and boy is he gorgeous! So incredibly tight and precise and yet manages to effortlessly finagle your noggin with his rhythmic wizardry - it's the perfect accompaniment to the military precision Jasper lays on thick and fast. Evo is a god amongst men and that's all that needs saying. If I could, I would marry this band, take them home to meet my mother and live in pure bliss for 100 years.

Buy this album before you buy all the others as it's closer to what you'll get when you see them live.
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