Phronesis – ‘Parallax’

Phronesis albums seems to have a similar vibe to them. Bassist Jasper Høiby, pianist Ivo Neame, and drummer Anton Eger have been together for a decade now. They play with time, Eger slays on the kit, Høiby bounces around the melody like a rubber ball, Neame has turns eloquently understated and unabashedly dazzling. They’re one of the great dynamic modern jazz trios. They come with this set of expectations. This is no different on their latest album, Parallax.

Their ebb and flow of energy, the oh, so familiar shuffle, it’s all there. In this sense, they aren’t reinventing the wheel here in this album. For years, they have found a formula that works for them as a trio. This is a band who has been around for about eleven years now. Friendship and rapport builds as these things do over time, but as a band who as been around for so long, there’s also that familiarity that only bands that can actually be described as having longevity can have. It’s not hard to think of The Bad Plus and their distinct sound as it kept chugging along around Never Stop, Inevitable Western and Made Possible, a recognizable groove for a very recognizable piano trio. These guys are more and more becoming one of those trios and this return to the studio is another sign of that.

After 2014’s explosive live album Life to Everything, Høiby, Neame, and Eger have made a studio recording again, a one shot at the famous Abbey Road, still keeping the driving energy of live performance but leaving the cheers and reactions to the listener this time out. Neame’s sweet opening and Eger’s grabbing soloing on “Ok Chorale”, the lurch into a sprint of “Stillness” before stopping on a dime in a moment that you just know muuuuuuuurrrrrrrdddddddeeeerrrrrs live, the beautiful rumble of “A Kite for Seamus”, the album is full of so many moments with so much replay value.

This is one of the best piano trios of our day releasing a new album. It’s some of the the best, most explosive jazz around and they still don’t stop turning heads. Such effusive praise, like the brilliance of this music, is expected by now. Such is the case with folks who have been doing their thing for over a decade.

JASPER HØIBY double bass

Parallax, the new album from the trio Phronesis, is out April 8th on Edition Records.