Jakob Bro Trio - Gefion - ECM 2381



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Project

Gefion, named for the Norse goddess associated with ploughing, prophecy and premonition, is the ECM leader debut of Danish guitarist Jakob Bro. Bro first recorded for ECM with Paul Motian on Garden of Eden in 2004, followed by Tomasz Stanko’s Dark Eyes album of 2009. The guitarist’s feeling for melody, sound-colour and atmosphere served him well in those contexts, as it does here in the realization of his own free floating ballads and drifting, spacious-yet-focused pieces. “Lucidity is in the air when guitarist Jakob Bro plays,” the late Danish journalist Ib Skovgaard wrote. “His music transcends genres. It’s beyond categories, a personal music following a track which is consistent with Bro’s constant search for melodic clarity in the songs”.

 

Gefion was recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in November 2013 and produced by Manfred Eicher. It introduces a group with US bassist Thomas Morgan and Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, which has been a priority project for Jakob Bro in recent years. Bro views Thomas Morgan as a “soulmate in music”. As Craig Taborn once said of the bassist, nobody is more rigorous about holding onto the compositional fabric of a piece of music and honouring its intentions. In the stripped-to-essentials context of Gefion, the bassist is able to make his well-chosen notes say a great deal; Bro and Morgan thoughtfully explore the music together, buoyed and stimulated by the lapping waves of Jon Christensen’s drums and cymbals. Whether driving or detailing the music, Christensen plainly relishes the freedoms offered by the trio formation. 



Project

“Jon Christensen’s been a big inspiration to me from the beginning of my musical career,” says Bro. “Very early on I played with a Danish drummer who’d been house drummer at Tagskægget in Aarhus - a pendant to Jazz Club Montmartre in Copenhagen –in the 1960s. He was a big fan of Jon’s way of playing the drums, and introduced me to the records he was playing on. I quickly came to recognize how very unique and truly special Jon is.”


Bro first heard Thomas Morgan at New York club Tonic when the bassist was playing with Joey Baron’s band. In the same period, but not in the same line-ups, Bro and Morgan began working with Paul Motian: “Unfortunately we never got to play with Paul, the both of us together. I would have loved that. But around 2008 or 2009 I participated in a recording session in New York with the Danish piano player August Rosenbaum and Dan Weiss.

Thomas Morgan was on the session. Since then he has played on almost all of my recordings and we’ve worked and toured extensively together.”