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Jakob Bro: Bay of Rainbows

Mark Sullivan By

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Danish guitarist Jakob Bro returns with another album made by his working trio with double bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Joey Baron, previously heard on Streams (ECM, 2016). Recorded live at Jazz Standard in New York in July, 2017, it is also Bro's first live recording for the label. The repertoire mainly documents Bro originals that the trio has been playing for years, most of them predating his ECM albums as leader.

Opener "Mild" was first recorded on Bro/Knak (Loveland Records, 2012). Bro begins it with gentle fingerstyle rubato playing, appropriate for the title. Bass and drums enter gradually, and the arrangement builds to looped guitar halfway through. It may be mild, but it crackles with creative energy, and the sound of a band with experience and chemistry. "Red Hook" was titled "Red Hook Railroad" when Bro recorded it on Pearl River (Loveland Records, 2007). One of his earliest compositions, it is named for the Red Hook section of Brooklyn where he shared an apartment during his time in New York. Baron's melodic tom-toms open the tune, and he takes an active role in the free for all of the climax.

"Copenhagen" is reprised from Gefion (ECM, 2015), Bro's ECM debut as a leader, with Morgan and drummer Jon Christensen. It features a beautiful unaccompanied bass solo which ends the performance. "Dug" (the only track with no prior recording history) continues with bass (and drums). Bro goes for a big reverberant sound, with energetic overdriven guitar taking the energy level up to maximum. "Evening Song" comes from Balladeering (Loveland Records, 2009), perhaps the best known of his pre-ECM recordings. "Mild (var.)" is a very different version of the opening tune, demonstrating the open approach taken by the trio. If anything it is even more rubato and slower building, and Morgan's bass takes a more prominent role.

Bay of Rainbows is a fine addition to Bro's already extensive discography. His ECM albums have featured a classic production sound, everything taking place in a large, reverberant virtual space. It is satisfying to hear this music played in a club, coming to life in front of an audience—and a potent demonstration of this trio's experienced, inspired music-making.

Track Listing: Mild; Red Hook; Copenhagen; Dug; Evening Song; Mild (Var.).

Personnel: Jakob Bro: guitar; Thomas Morgan: double bass; Joey Baron: drums.

Title: Bay of Rainbows | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: ECM Records

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