All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

7

Phronesis at Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Phronesis
Crescent Arts Centre
Belfast, Ireland
May 30, 2014

You had to feel sorry for the couple, rocking up at Belfast's Crescent Arts Centre fifteen minutes before show time only to be told that the concert was a sell-out. Slightly sorry, that is, because in times when jazz is often a hard sell, a 'sold out' sign is music to the ears—certainly for those lucky to have bagged a ticket for Phronesis' penultimate date of its UK tour promoting Life to Everything (Edition Records, 2014). It's also tremendously encouraging to the promotors, Moving On Music, the venue and the band itself, all of whom can be sure they're doing something right.

One of the few modern jazz piano trios of the past decade that really doesn't sound in any way like the Esbjorn Svensson Trio, Phronesis music is built on the equality of the three voices. Even when pianist Ivo Neame soloed with free-flowing gusto on "Urban Plan" there was never the feeling that bassist Jasper Hoiby and drummer Anton Eger where anything less than vital components in the mix; an essential part of Phronesis' make-up lies in its constant rhythmic vitality and flexibility—Hoiby's grooving ostinatos, Neame's elastic vamps and Eger's array of colors are the bones of the closely-knit interplay.

Eger's Afro-Caribean-flavored rhythms on mallets announced the dancing "Songs for Lost Nomads," which moved from tightly coiled collective groove to a looser improvisational dynamic. "Behind Bars" shifted through the gears, from the delicate piano and arco intro—with Eger's hands gently animating snare and cymbal—to flowing collective freedom; Neame and Eger sent a flurry of little messages back and forth, escalating the drama, with Eger winning the prize hands down for best face contortions. Even on brushes, as on the lyrical, piano-led "Phraternal," Eger's quiet industry was impressive. The first set closed with tightly woven interplay on the punchy "Herne Hill," which Hoiby dedicated to Sue Edwards, a tireless jazz advocate on both sides of the Atlantic for three decades.

Eger launched the second set with a nuanced solo to introduce "Deep Space Dance," a more spacious, light-textured number. With barely a pause, deep arco and rumbling mallets introduced "Wings 2 the Mind," which took shape around Hoiby's bass ostinato, and Neame's folksy melody that evoked Czech jazz pianist Emil Viklicky's Moravian folk vocabulary. The pianist's solo in the higher registers—fluid yet light of touch—was followed by features from Hoiby and Eger. The episodic "Blue Inspiration" saw an exhilarating extended solo from Neame, driven by Hoiby and Eger's tremendous rhythmic energy. The bouncing "Eight Hours" continued with the same high energy levels. The encore, "Dr. Black" evolved from the classically-inspired opening melody to thrilling collective and individual virtuosity where the line between both was satisfyingly blurred.

During the gig—and reflecting a commonly made observation by many musicians—Hoiby spoke of the constant demands of promoters for novelty: "You have to reinvent yourself and keep making up these excuses to play gigs," Hoiby told the audience. It's a pity such value isn't placed on evolution as opposed to revolution, as Phronesis nine years playing together has forged a supremely tight unit whose thrilling live performances are founded upon deep familiarity. Phronesis doesn't need an excuse to play, nor are excuses necessary to see Phronesis in concert. Even between studio albums there's no such thing as fallow time with an active trio this fertile, for the music is constantly in a state of growth. It is advisable, therefore, to book your tickets in advance.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Radio
CD/LP/Track Review
Best of / Year End
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
Read more articles
We Are All

We Are All

Edition Records
2018

buy
Parallax

Parallax

Edition Records
2016

buy
Life To Everything

Life To Everything

Edition Records
2014

buy
Walking Dark

Walking Dark

Edition Records
2012

buy
Alive

Alive

Edition Records
2010

buy
Green Delay

Green Delay

Loop Records
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Enjoy Jazz 2018 Live Reviews
Enjoy Jazz 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Jazz for all Ages Live Reviews
Jazz for all Ages
by Martin McFie
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Baku Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Baku Jazz Festival 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 13, 2018
Read Joanna Pascale at Chris' Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Joanna Pascale at Chris' Jazz Cafe
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 13, 2018
Read Moldejazz 2018 Live Reviews
Moldejazz 2018
by Martin Longley
Published: November 10, 2018
Read Nik Bärtsch's Ronin At The Bop Stop Live Reviews
Nik Bärtsch's Ronin At The Bop Stop
by Matt Hooke
Published: November 10, 2018
Read "Joe Alterman Trio with John Sandfort at The Jazz Corner" Live Reviews Joe Alterman Trio with John Sandfort at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: October 31, 2018
Read "Danny Green Trio at the Lily Pad" Live Reviews Danny Green Trio at the Lily Pad
by Doug Hall
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "Madeleine Peyroux At Freight & Salvage" Live Reviews Madeleine Peyroux At Freight & Salvage
by Walter Atkins
Published: May 25, 2018
Read "Kyle Taylor Parker at The Green Room 42" Live Reviews Kyle Taylor Parker at The Green Room 42
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 17, 2018