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Jasper Høiby - 3Elements: Like Water

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    Posted: 15 Jun 2024 at 10:25am

recording of the week,Jasper Høiby - 3Elements: Like Water

JASPER HØIBY - 3Elements : Like Water cover


The Danish bassist and composer Jasper Høiby is now practically a native since first arriving in London on loan from his native Copenhagen scene at the turn of the century. Having completed his studies at the Royal Academy of Music, he quickly began to immerse himself around various prolific musicians within the capital’s vibrant jazz scene, some of whom would go on to establish the influential Loop Collective in 2005. It was around that time when Høiby’s spark truly ignited, with the formation of three-piece Phronesis leading the bassist and his bandmates to international acclaim in the years that followed as well as recognition as one of the finest groups in Europe.

Now the award-winning band has remained on an extended hiatus since 2020, its members have spread their wings in a multitude of fascinating directions. Take the ensemble's Swedish drummer Anton Eger, who can routinely be heard accompanying Nordic saxophonist Marius Neset in brilliant capacities, or Ivo Neame, the British pianist who performs under different guises around the world while ushering in a new generation of talent as an indispensable sideman to the auspicious Emma Rawicz. Naturally, Høiby himself has also developed with age, his musical palette expanding and personal tastes still being refined in Phronesis’ wake. The musician’s encounter with the work of Canadian author Naomi Klein – particularly This Changes Everything (2014), her urgent polemic on the worrisome links between global capitalism and the climate crisis – has largely caused an eco-conscious shift in the themes to which he devotes his most recent output. 

With Planet B (2020), an ongoing project featuring saxophonist Josh Arcoleo and drummer Marc Michel, Høiby initially embarked on what (by next year) is set to become a quadruple run of albums, with each release “[focusing] on four global topics of vital importance.” Never one to do things by halves, he has since set the ball rolling with an additional rotating small group: 3Elements. For those of you still wondering, this new piano trio (whose personnel alternates with each chapter of their projected studio trilogy) now reaches its second instalment with Like Water – its latest evolutionary phase since Earthness (2023) was first released last November. With the simpatico lineup of Chaerin Im (pno.) and Jamie Peet (dr.) assuming the positions held by Noah Stoneman and Luca Caruso, respectively, the group's nimble-fingered approach to music-making is screwed on even tighter. 

 Even if three may be Høiby’s magic number, its shifting resonance for the musician doesn’t mean to say that he intends on eternally retracing his past steps in search of familiar ground. Far from it, even if no man steps foot in the same river twice… This time around, 3Elements' musical interactions are reinforced through new perspectives, as the leader sets engaging and elaborate cues that guide the conversation in line with his humanistic vision. The paradoxical nature of simultaneously encouraging more risk-taking and experimentation in one instance while aiming for precision and tightness in another is no problem for the Dane. Leading by example, he governs each track to promote his bandmates’ strengths, providing ample room for extended improvisations that highlight their soul-searching capabilities. In terms of tone, the bass player’s syncopated lines and rhythmic choices set the foundation in a fluid capacity. His lyrical, emotive playing that yields the recording with a reflective mood combines in places with the more aggressive, driving style for which he has come to be known. These variations in dynamics, articulation and phrasing result in a handful of highly energetic performances all-round; magical moments, where the band synchronises in perfect unison. 

This latest portion signals that we’re over halfway through as either of Høiby’s ongoing projects begins to catch sight of its separate conclusions. At the risk of repeating myself from last year, with 3Elements, the rhythmically astute bandleader reminds us of his innate ability in retaining the prominence he has achieved over the past two decades. With this trio’s third (and presumably final) subsequent lineup set to be announced at a later date now that earth has melted into liquid, one can't help but imagine what might possibly lie in store... Best not to ponder too far into the future, however! As Høiby demonstrates, there’s still plenty of work to be done before we arrive. 


3Elements: Like Water 

Jasper Høiby

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Barney Whittaker

from https://www.prestomusic.com

Edited by snobb - 15 Jun 2024 at 10:27am
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