Phronesis CD

Walking DarkEDN1031

(Edition/Planet)

Reviewed April, 2012.

 Jazz spawned the drum-kit, and all the music’s subsequent developments have been accompanied by revolutions in playing the instrument. Now conceptual and technical innovations at the kit are actually kindling new directions jazz may take. You can hear it happening locally almost every time that Simon Barker plays. Among the drummers driving innovations overseas are Mark Guiliana and Anton Eger. Guiliana played on the last Phronesis album and Eger is on this one, suggesting that the band’s leader, Jasper Hoiby is well alive to the way they open up the music.

Eger creates a rustling, continuously shifting rhythmic texture of little sounds, including extensively hitting the rims rather than the actual drums. The ensuing stream of rhythmic precision unlocks a vast dynamic range, as the music can fall to a whisper while still having turbo-charged propulsion.

This changes the relationship between the instruments almost as dramatically as Scott La Faro’s melodic approach to bass playing did in the Bill Evans Trio of 1961. Eger provides Hoiby (bass) with much broader rhythmic options, while Ivo Neame can fully exploit the piano’s sonic potential without having to fight the constant maze of overtones that are generated by conventional ride-cymbal patterns.

The compositions (by all three) fascinate and engage, and the improvising brims with glorious ideas and interaction. This is state-of-the-art piano-trio jazz.