Monday, April 18, 2016

Phronesis - Parallax (Edition, 2016)

Phronesis is a band whose sound should be familiar to fans of The Bad Plus or the sadly lamented Esbjorn Svensson Trio. They take a modern approach to the time honored jazz trio, adding some oomph to the proceedings while remaining an acoustic jazz band. The group consists of Jasper Hoiby on bass, Ivo Neame on piano and Anton Eger on drums. Things get off to a fast start with “67, 000 MPH” that has Eger’s drums leading the trio into the fray fast and deep while developing an interesting and complex rhythm. Things get very fast and very exciting, and the trio is able to move the music dynamically to keep it from being locked in one place for too long which adds to the intensity. Neame really makes his presence felt as he sends waves of rippling piano notes over the elastic bass and drum interplay. “Stillness” shows the group operating in another manner entirely, with rattling drums forming a pensive sound, and the entire first half of the track toys with a sense of atmospheric foreboding. The trio then locks together into a cool unadorned rhythm, with a light fluttering percussion sound played against strong bass and driving piano for a powerful collective improvisation. The short “Just 4 Now” has a funky breakout with the group acting light on their feet and sections of solo piano being stitched within the larger fabric of the song. There is a light and nimble bass solo, and then everyone meets to stride together to the finish line. “Manioc Maniac” comes crashing down with a huge wave of music, which then allows the music to breathe with shades of light and dark, as the speed and complexity of the music twist and turn. With the fast speed and the complex rhythm, the music just goes whizzing by. Finally, “Rabat” has Neame developing a repetitive figure of piano notes, before the trio comes together to plow a thick and powerful groove. The repetition builds tension and is release unleashes a very fast improvisation that has a section of ascending piano over great bass and drum dialogue that is very exciting. That Phronesis managed to record this album in a single day is a testament to how in tuned with each other the members of the band are. They have a simpatico relationship with one another and the music that they create that allows the band to use speed and complexity to achieve their musical goals. Parallax - amazon.com

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