In the jazz world, a new Phronesis album is like Charlie unwrapping that chocolate bar and seeing that beautiful bitch of a golden ticket. Jazzheads turn into kids on Christmas Day on hearing of its arrival. They scream, shout, and run in circles for no particular reason. One major difference between the two is that, with one, you enter a strange and chaotic world full of wonder, anxiety, relief, and humour and the other is a chocolate factory.
Jasper Høiby, the bass player, started this shit back in ’07. After a decade of ups and downs (most notably a pianist replacement in ’09) Jasper Høiby, Ivo Neame (piano), and Anton Eger (drums) have truly become the shit. It’s difficult to be a jazz trio. First off, look at all your fucking competition! This doesn’t just include living trios, but masters like the Bill Evans Trio, the Ahmad Jamal trio, the Esbjörn Svensson Trio, and monolithic fucking names like Ellington, Mingus, and Roach. Secondly, it’s difficult to form the cohesiveness that fans demand. Three great players do not make a great trio. Sure, it helps a fuckton if everyone is unbelievably talented, but that’s just not enough. A good jazz trio must have the ability to read each other’s minds. Ya, that’s right. Telepathy bitches! It’s expected in a jazz trio. And, by golly gosh, these motherfuckers play like they’re three fucking Xaviers grooving out at the local X-Men café.
Phronesis has gained the rep of fucking with crazy rhythms and having a continual game of tug-a-war between melody and dissonance. They’ve been compared to E.S.T. about, oh I don’t know, a million fucking times. And in the jazz world? That’s like someone comparing you to Jesus (Sure, thanks for the compliment, but what the fuck do I do now?). This comparison does make sense though. Phronesis is a forward thinking jazz trio. They make music they love and everything else is secondary. The warmth and ease of their experimentation is slicker than a gravy boat after Thanksgiving. They are an example of modern European jazz at its best.
If you’re a rhythm hound, listen to this shit immediately. If you like melody and depth, listen to this shit immediately. If you like a nice simple jazz songs that you throw on the ol’ sound surround when hosting a party, run the fuck away. Guests will look at you like you’re eyes are bleeding if you don’t. Though, once that stupid fucking party is over and everyone has lost your phone number, listen to this album again. Listen to it alone or with a good friend. Once this shit grabs you, you’re hooked for life. Then the next time Phronesis announces they have a new album coming out, you’ll be screaming like a spoiled kid on Christmas.