‘Parallax’ – Phronesis

Parallax

HOW’S THIS for supreme confidence? One of the world’s foremost jazz trios recording an hour of explosive, original material in a single day at London’s renowned Abbey Road Studios… and ab-so-lute-ly nailing it!

Jasper Høiby, Ivo Neame and Anton Eger’s combined musical prowess has previously been documented here with 2012’s outstanding studio release Walking Dark and 2014’s live, in-the-round thriller Life to Everything – yet, having honed and established such a distinctive identity and direction over more than a decade of democratic collaboration, it’s remarkable how they raise the bar still higher with each new release.

Sixth album Parallax continues to astonish; not as a result of this piano trio (in decidedly unconventional guise) suddenly upping sticks and changing course, but because they possess the breathtaking musicality and technical precision to consolidate this sound world of their own making, whilst also drawing us into the glorious minutiae of their progressive invention. As with their last album, double bassist, pianist and drummer enjoy compositional parity (three tracks each) – and though glints of individual personality are recognisable from other projects, the strength of this enduring partnership is confirmed by the solidity of these live studio performances and an ever-present filament of hard-wrought, communicative equilibrium.

That special Phronesis character – ‘wisdom personified’ – is evident from the outset, with the velocity of Anton Eger’s 67000 MPH (the speed of the sun) marked out by complex, unison bass-and-piano riffs, thunderous drum detail and audacious tempo shifts. The changeable, parallactic undulations and contours of this trio’s music are spine-tingling, and equally colourful in Ivo Neame’s solo opening to his OK Chorale – an acrobatic, piano-led delight which intensifies towards Eger’s trademark percussive alchemy; and Jasper Høiby’s slow-burning, arco-bass Stillness – like some orchestral Bach transcription – is outrageously carved open by the incisiveness of the drummer’s cutlery (yes, really!).

Ivo Neame’s recognisable lyricism shines through so beautifully in A Kite for Seamus, his breezy solo lines spiralling into the hazy azure, with an occasionally duskier descent; the lurching, introductory motif of Høiby’s Just 4 Now heralds typically adrenalin-fuelled activity, including the bassist’s own lithe extemporisations; and Ayu (from Eger) says so much about the trio’s empathy, sparking rhythmic and textural ideas off each other amidst jaw-dropping, individual agility.

Implied, dreamy, pianistic reflections in Høiby’s A Silver Moon might easily evoke Bill Evans or Beethoven, such is Neame’s increasingly mercurial creativity; and the pianist’s superbly delirious Manioc Maniac restlessly writhes and jostles across its three minutes. Jasper Høiby remains the sturdy backbone of this ensemble, and his sinuous bass dexterity in Eger’s bubbling rock-out, Rabat (in conjunction with similarly impassioned piano and drums), spectacularly brings the curtain down on an another artistically magnificent album.

Catch this purely acoustic trio live, and it’s difficult to know where to fix your attention, such is the relentless musical and visual dialogue, back and forth, across the stage. The same holds true for this recording, capturing an energised zeal interpreted through focus, clarity and sincerity.

Oh, and a fortnight in a top-level studio to lay down a single drum track? Anathema to these illustrious trailblazers!

Released on 8 April 2016, Parallax is available as CD, 12″ vinyl and high-quality download from Edition Records’ Bandcamp store.

Videos: Stillness, Rabat and OK Chorale.

 

Jasper Høiby double bass
Ivo Neame piano
Anton Eger drums

phronesismusic.com

Edition Records – EDN1070 (2016)

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‘Coalescence’ – Andre Canniere

Coalescence

A MASTERLY new release from trumpeter and composer Andre Canniere, ‘Coalescence’ presents a strong quintet line-up and a fine collection of nine originals.

Canniere’s debut with Whirlwind (‘Forward Space’, 2011) received numerous plaudits for its rock-driven jazz grooves. This new recording marks a shift to a more elaborate post-bop feel, displaying greater compositional eloquence… and delivered by a top team of Hannes Riepler (guitar), Ivo Neame (piano and accordion), Ryan Trebilcock (bass) and Jon Scott (drums).

American-raised Canniere (based in London since 2008) consistently delivers a clear, bright trumpet tone, immediately making its mark on his confident, bustling opener, Sweden Hill – Ivo Neame’s piano a particularly brilliant rhythmic and textural core. Hans Riepler’s guitar tone and technique are vital ingredients in this album’s mix. As well as his nimble soloing, a fascinating ‘chemical reaction’ occurs when he either shares or harmonises a melody with Canniere. Their tones are surprisingly close, beginning to resemble a paired trumpet or trumpet/sax frontline, but with the added string attack that Riepler’s guitar can bring – a full and engaging sound.

Gibbs and East is a great showcase for the trademark drumming of Jon Scott – a rock-solid, hard-edged, but also sensitive and imaginative player (heard with Kairos 4tet and Dice Factory) who provides the spectacular ‘snap, crackle and pop’ to a number which Canniere describes as his homage to Rochester, New York. Riepler comes to the fore in Nylon, providing pleasing guitar textures as well as a warm yet agile lead in a punchy and sometimes wonderfully clumping track in which Canniere bristles chromatically. In contrast, Gaslands – a commentary on the topical issue of US and UK fracking activity – finds Canniere soloing mournfully over a troubled backdrop of guitar wash and high piano elaboration.

The eleven-minute Zuid is a brash and lively stand-out, opening with impressive, sonorous, flexing bass. Canniere positively flies on this (Hubbard-like), Scott and Trebilcock providing and maintaining its fabulous motion which intentionally suggests memories of train journeys through Europe. And Ivo Neame provides characteristic shape, reflection and embellishment. Neame is becoming something of a pianistic chameleon in differing line-ups, able to re-invent his ‘colour’ of play – yet his innate musicality and wizardry always reveal the identity of an artist who is so evidently at the top of his game.

Parallax, from its first ear-catching guitar and bass riff, possesses a questioning, tentative air. As Trebilcock’s bass continues the same pulse, Canniere and Riepler freely expound on its subject of perceived change in perspectives, guitar and piano here a classy combination. The more urgent, guitar-led Point Zero acknowledges Canniere’s abhoration of inadequate gun laws in the States, Scott’s straight-talking drums and Neame’s accordion giving weight to the trumpet line. Finally, Neame’s spacious and delightful countrified piano is a key element of the homely, closing, Pennsylvania-inspired Elk Run – mellowness and memories the watchwords from Canniere.

This new quintet somehow has the ability to continually shed new light on their offering, the various nuances frequently revealing themselves differently each time – an indicator of their superb collaborative musicality. An excellent programme, and definitely a repeat player, ‘Coalescence’ is released on Whirlwind Recordings on 28 October 2013.


Andre Canniere
trumpet
Hannes Riepler guitar
Ivo Neame piano, accordion
Ryan Trebilcock bass
Jon Scott drums

Whirlwind Recordings – WR4642 (2013)

andrecanniere.com