Walking Dark (Editions Records; 2012)
Jasper Hoiby (bass)
Anton Eger (drums)
Ivo Neame (piano)
The blistering rise of Phronesis over the last few years is astounding and well justified. The trio along with the Neil Cowley Trio and Kit Downes Trio have been one of leading lights of the modern British jazz scene. Their counterparts Polar Bear, Get The Blessing and Led Bib take a more avant garde approach but Phronesis have set out in more contemporary fashion and developed into a tight knit outfit that delivers a solid statement each time out.
Their latest, Walking Dark stands as another important piece in the work of a trio that is ready for the next level recognition. "Democracy" spells it out for this dynamic trio. Neame's playing is nimble, playful and wrapped in crisp precision. Hoiby's bass fills the room with a warm resonance that holds the listen tight to attention. The drums are soft and Eger compliments his bandmates supreme agility. "Charm Defensive" is an introspective piece that is calm and revolves around the subtle notes of Neame and bold hues brilliantly executed by Hoiby.
"The Economist" is slightly more uptempo with some propulsive beats and rhythms constructed by Neame and Eger. The pace is strong with intense velocity. The pieces change pace and timing quickly but it's never jarring. There are complicated notes throughout "The Economist" but Hoiby and his mates project a flexibility to the number that you glide perfectly through it. "Eight Hours", which originally appeared on the live album, Alive, solemnly closes the album with joyful melancholia that has a lovely breath and depth that feel more in the studio than from it's predecessor.
Walking Dark is again another step in the right direction for Phronesis. They have already separated themselves from the pact; but hopefully this is the record that capitalizes on what many of us already know. Phronesis are a one of best bands in England. And deserves your undivided attention.