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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

CD Review: Jakob Bro – Gefion

Jakob Bro (guitar); Thomas Morgan (double bass); Jon Christensen (drums)
(Review by Hugh).
Jakob Bro first recorded for ECM with Paul Motian in 2004 and subsequently with Tomasz Stanko in 2009.  This recording is Bro's debut as bandleader.  The album is named after the Norse goddess associated with ploughing, prophesy and premonition – although this reviewer was not entirely sure what he was going to hear!
Gefion was recorded in Oslo in November 2013 and produced by Manfred Eicher.  The trio comprises Bro on guitar with US bassist Thomas Morgan and Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen.  This skeletal format allows all three musicians to contribute to the final result on equal terms.
There are eight tracks on the album, commencing with the title track, Gefion.  A quiet beginning of solo guitar is built on by Christensen's subtle and sensitive percussion and finally the trio is completed by Morgan's acoustic bass.   The mood engendered is one of contemplation, with delicate interplay between the three musicians.
Copenhagen takes up the tempo a bit, but still retains the Nordic cool.  We hear a bit more of the bass as melodic instrument here and this continues in And They All Came Marching Out Of The Woods, which is introduced and underpinned throughout by Morgan's repeating theme.
White takes the tempo down again, the long drawn out guitar chords from Bro carefully interspersed by Morgan's bass, and the whole caressed by Christensen's almost intangible brushwork.   Lyskaster is an atmospheric solo guitar piece by Bro.  Airport poem continues   the minimalist approach, but with the return of Bro's trio companions. 
A fuller sound returns in Oktober, the mood is still contemplative and slightly mysterious (as one imagines October in Norway might be).  Ending does what it says on the tin and brings the CD to a close.
This CD is a pleasure to listen to, and one I will probably come back to.  It retains its laid back, contemplative feel throughout.  The musicianship of all three members of the trio is beyond doubt and this comes through in the clarity with which one can make out the individual contributions in the trio format. 
Hugh.
Gefion was released in the UK on 9 February 2015 by ECM (Catalogue Number 470 9139)

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