Dec 28 2016
There’s something incredibly rewarding about following an artist, in any medium, and witnessing their creative development through snapshots of events and projects and finished pieces. Jasper Høiby is one of the premier bassists on the scene. He and his trio Phronesis have earned their accolades as being one of the most exciting things in modern jazz. And over the last fifteen years, Høiby’s contributions to the trio project Malija, the Kairos 4tet, and Rory Simmons’ insanely good Fringe Magnetic ensemble are just some of the high points. It leads one to the conclusion that remarkable work is something to be expected of him, always. But even in that context, his fantastic new Fellow Creatures shows that even high expectations fall short of the plateau he’s capable of achieving. In how the compositions shine individually and as interlocking facets of a singular whole, Høiby displays a clarity of vision and a grand confidence to shape the album that is jaw-dropping impressive. These are songs that reflect an intelligence that values the abstract, and these are also songs that transmit their message with a directness that keeps the introspection in check.
Creative intent is easily and often subjugated to the wild and untamed whims of unleashed imagination, and for an artist to wield those forces in such a way that brings them into a state of unison, that’s the kind of thing to aspire to. And in this instance, it also means an outstanding album is just waiting to get scooped up by fans. P.S. Another positive signal emitting from this album is how three generations of jazz musicians are reflected in the personnel, proving that the strength of the modern jazz scene is nothing to worry about, and based on the range of saxophonist Mark Lockheart, bassist Jasper Høiby, pianist Will Barry, drummer Corrie Dick and trumpeter Laura Jurd, there was no reason to worry before, now or later.
Jazz from Copenhagen, Denmark.
Read more about the album from my interview with Høiby on The Bandcamp Daily (LINK).