All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Jakob Bro: Hymnotic/Salmodisk

Jakob Baekgaard By

Sign in to view read count
The exploration of different musical formats has been one of the defining characteristics of Danish guitarist Jakob Bro for a long time. It makes perfect sense when you think about Bro's approach to music. He is an artist that likes to work with different voices to see what they can bring to the music.

Back in 2008, Bro introduced a nonet that was documented on the live-recording White Rainbow (Loveland Records, 2008). Many of the musicians that were present at that time are also a part of Bro's tentet whose release, Hymnotic/Salmodisk, takes the large format into the studio to create a lush soundscape that finally does justice to the many nuances in the group.

The sound of the group is overwhelming. There are two drummers, Kresten Osgood and Jakob Høyer, no less than three bassists, Thomas Morgan, Anders Christensen and Nicolai Munch-Hansen, and a reed-section with Jesper Zeuthen, Andrew D'Angelo and Chris Speed. This massive unit is supplemented by Nikolaj Torp Larsen on keyboard and Bro on guitar, but there is one more vital voice, the Danish poet Peter Laugesen.

It might come as a surprise to some that Bro would bring an author into his universe, but compositions with names like "Laxness" and "Hamsun," references to the Nordic authors Halldór Laxness and Knut Hamsun, have indicated a literary interest earlier on. Bro also appeared as a sideman on Danish saxophonist Christian Vuust's album Strøm (Aero Music, 2009) where Laugesen was featured as well.

Laugesen is a prominent voice on the Danish literary scene. His literary heritage is connected to the Beat Generation and he could be characterized as a Danish Lawrence Ferlinghetti. His golden, oak-aged voice is music in itself as it muses on the complexity of time, nature, words, jazz and life. Laugesen is a jazz poet and he is perfectly at home in this context with Bro.

The album begins with an Albert Ayler-esque saxophone fanfare and subtle drum thunder before a spacy keyboard and guitar lines enter, and then Laugesen speaks with his rhythmical poetry, letting words flow in glowing arabesques. On "Visne blade og sokker," he recites his lines between the complex and earthy tapestry of wooden basslines. However, Laugesen is not present on all tracks. "Daybreak," "I do remember," "Exploding suns" and "Sadness is the gladdest way to feel" are all strong instrumental tracks with polyphonic sophistication, arresting rhythms and solos.

It is the ability to combine hummable, folk-like melodies with avant-garde explosions and subtle sound poetry that makes Hymnotic/Salmodisk so special. The album is a widescreen vision from Jakob Bro in the company of an abundance of talent. It feels like a musical catharsis that dares to speak about all aspects of life.

Note: The album is released as a free download through Jakob Bro's website: but is also available as a limited vinyl edition.

Track Listing: Mergelgrav; Daybreak; Tinkerslotte; I do remember; Altings Ophav; Exploding suns; Visne blade og sokker; Sadness is the gladdest way to feel.

Personnel: Jakob Bro: guitar; Peter laugesen: poetry, recitation; Jesper Zeuthen: saxophone; Andrew D'Angelo: saxophone; Chris Speed: saxophone; Nikolaj Torp Larsen: kyeboard; Anders Christensen: bass; Thomas Morgan: bass; Nicolai Munch-Hansen: bass; Jakob Høyer: drums; Kresten Osgood: drums.

Title: Hymnotic/Salmodisk | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Loveland Records


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Picture in Black and White CD/LP/Track Review
Picture in Black and White
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: October 15, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 15, 2018
Read I Ching CD/LP/Track Review
I Ching
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 15, 2018
Read Hidden Details CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Details
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 15, 2018
Read We Are the Orchestra CD/LP/Track Review
We Are the Orchestra
by James Fleming
Published: October 14, 2018
Read Electric Miles CD/LP/Track Review
Electric Miles
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 14, 2018
Read "The Other Side of Time" CD/LP/Track Review The Other Side of Time
by Gareth Thompson
Published: January 30, 2018
Read "You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!" CD/LP/Track Review You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!
by Jerome Wilson
Published: February 18, 2018
Read "This World of Dew" CD/LP/Track Review This World of Dew
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: July 27, 2018
Read "Glass" CD/LP/Track Review Glass
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 10, 2018
Read "Bluer Than Velvet: The Prysock Project" CD/LP/Track Review Bluer Than Velvet: The Prysock Project
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 29, 2018
Read "Blood & Bone" CD/LP/Track Review Blood & Bone
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 5, 2018