Jul
1
2018

Jakob Bro

RETURNINGS

(ECM)

9/10

Bro resSelf-effacement is a handy trait for an improviser. You would never discern that Jakob Bro was this band’s leader, for instance, simply by listening. The Danish guitarist’s main concern has been creating contexts to maximise his colleagues’ creativity. And what colleagues! From the absolute vanguard of Scandinavian jazz come trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg and drummer Jon Christensen, joined by Thomas Morgan, who, since Charlie Haden’s demise, wears the mantle of the bassist who says the most with the fewest notes.

The pieces, by Bro and Mikkelborg, could be the folk-songs of wraiths: sketches that swirl and eddy like mist on a lake in a light breeze, awaiting the life-blood of improvisation. Mikkelborg’s trumpet and flugelhorn provide the nearest shades to primary colours, darting to the foreground to blaze briefly, before retreating once more into the haze of guitar, bass and drums. Bro infuses the music with gentle washes of harmony and drama, which Morgan thickens with his carefully sculpted, isolated, melancholy notes, while Christensen, one of the great musicians of our time, engraves the surface with unique mysteries and enigmas. An album of rare beauty.