Monday, October 14, 2013

Jakob Bro: December Song

Jakob Bro (guitar)
December Song (Loveland; 2013)
Lee Konitz (sax)
Craig Taborn (piano)
Bill Frisell (guitar)
Thomas Morgan (bass)

With December Song, Jakob Bro concludes a wonderful trilogy that started in 2008 with Balladerring and then Time in 2011. A beautiful and melodic tribute to one his mentors, the late Paul Motain, December Song is another shinning document in the growth of an very subtle yet expressive voice, Bro has become over the last decade.

"Giant" flows heavy and effectively on the notes of Konitz and Bro. But the addition of Taborn adds a complexity that give the atmospherics of Bro's playing more dynamics and experimentation. "Zygaena" and "Tree House" are similar to compositions from Balladerring and Time yet still show the growing aspects of Bro's writing after all these years. Both consist of lush, gentle tones that highlight the weaving patterns of Bro's guitar and Americana themes laid out by Frisell. But as always, Bro turns both pieces into a kind of journey that is rich and imaginable.

"Risskov" and "Vinterhymne" have folkish qualities that both romantic and dream-like. The compositions are like lullabies. "Risskov" is highlighted by Konitz's bold horn and Bro's subtle yet captivating notes. Quiet and short notes that linger with each echoing tone. "Vinterhymne" is more a drifting piece with images that fade that softly in the distant sunset. A wonderful closing number and longing gesture to one of his mentors.

December Song is again another statement of powerful creativity from a composer and performer who seems to be prime, prolific form at the moment. I try every chance I get to tell as many people about Jakob Bro. I'm hoping that an album such as December Song can do it all without me screaming to the hilltops. It's that beautiful and that good. One of my favourite albums of the year. And I already have a small list of them (Jason Moran/Charles Lloyd, MOPDTK, Sunna Gunnlaugs, Soren Gemmer and Soren Dahl Jeppesen to make the short list). But Jakob Bro always seems to make that list. Highly, Highly Recommended!

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