Jakob Bro / Thomas Morgan / Jon Christensen: Copenhagen, Denmark, July 8, 2012

Henning Bolte By

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Christensen opened by hand-playing his three cymbals, producing wonderfully rustling and intensive resonances—extraordinary. After the concert, Christensen said that it was his way to get in touch with the room and the audience. The trio's positioning on stage (seen from the musicians' perspective) clearly had some significance: Christensen at the utmost edge on the left facing his young fellow musicians; Morgan in the center, mainly facing Christensen; and Bro on the right, facing the other two and his electronic devices.

Bro supplied the basic lines—mainly original compositions but also a Yusef Lateef piece—which were anchored and rounded off by Morgan's always carefully chosen and articulated bass plucks, and illuminated and elevated by Christensen percussive accents, dots, swishes and crashes. Throughout the set, Christensen played 100% intuitively. Morgan learned the songs played to him briefly, by ear—Bro "forgot" to bring the charts—and Christensen neither saw nor heard a single note beforehand.

Hiding behind his cymbals, Christensen resembled a lurking tiger ready to pounce at the right moment and crash his cymbals. He often initiated moves, gave impulses and steered the music in different directions. "One tone by Thomas or Jakob makes a whole composition. Every tone offers rich opportunities to make music," Christensen later commented—a comment that hints at the drummer's conception of playing. It was possible to forget about time and tempo during the performance, and just focus on the music unfolding through all the instruments and musicians involved. "It's not just a bang, as to make the music loud or so. It has to be in a place musically spoken. And I can do it because I know it falls on fertile ground with Jakob and Thomas. Playing regularly is not what I want to do. That's because the music (for me) is not happening there," Christensen also said, explained his overall approach.

Tranquility, trust and confidence, accompanied by a high degree of interaction, marked the trio's performance, with intensive eye-contact, waiting and receptiveness all a part of it. In the movements of his hands and fingers Morgan's thinking became visible, the tone-to-next-sound suspended in a split second. "Very often I don't know what is coming next from Thomas," said Bro, describing Morgan's unpredictability and reliability. Morgan was constantly looking forward and overtly "reading" Christensen's actions (to come). Often, Morgan also took the initiative or laid down a groove in time.

Bro had to manage his role as instigator and responding receiver. One of the most fascinating things to watch was when Bro used electronics, including feedback, looping and distortion. Morgan generally continued his measured playing, which at first sounded a bit odd but ultimately fit perfectly in the long run. It also worked this way due to that special subdued quality of Bro's electronics, which created contrast and, at the same time, permeated and "sang through," even when it sometimes became wilder.

It all started with Christensen's rustling cymbals. It ended with the sounds of his thrown up drum-sticks swirling down on the theatre floor at the end of the encore.

Photo Credits

Page 2, Jon Christensen: Henning Bolte

All Other Photos: Karolina Zapolska


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