Jakob Bro: Bay Of Rainbows (ECM 2618)

2618 X

Jakob Bro
Bay Of Rainbows

Jakob Bro guitar
Thomas Morgan double bass
Joey Baron drums
Recorded lived July 2017 at Jazz Standard, New York
Recording engineers: James A. Farber and Paul Zinman
Assistant: Jeanne Velonis
SoundByte Productions Inc., NY
Mixed July 2018 at Studios La Buissonne by Manfred Eicher, Jakob Bro, and Gérard de Haro (engineer)
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Release date: October 5, 2018

Recorded live over two nights of performances at New York City’s Jazz Standard in July of 2017, Bay Of Rainbows presents the trio of guitarist Jakob Bro, bassist Thomas Morgan, and drummer Joey Baron in a state of deep communication. Although the album’s title refers to Sinus Iridum (i.e., Bay of Rainbows), an impact crater on the moon for which a land deed was jokingly gifted to the bandleader’s daughter, the music is as terrestrial as it does lunar. The contemplative tone for which Bro always strives is thus something of a philosophical paradox, reaching beyond home while being grounded in its streets. “Red Hook,” for example, refers to the section of Brooklyn where he lived with Ben Street and Mark Turner while cutting his teeth on the New York jazz scene, but has taken on much of the travels that have washed over him between then and now. In it the trio works in gossamer tandem, leaving behind a trail of fond associations so as to keep all the heartaches away from vulnerable hands.

“Copenhagen,” too, is a dream of home. Its slightly urban surface is reflective enough to see ourselves across an ocean of possibility in places we might never know firsthand. The cohesive delicacy with which Bro threads this vision, in combination with the lag-free responsiveness of his rhythm section, weaves a romantic tapestry indeed. “Dug” splits the guitar in two, layering a starry background with meteor showers of melody. Morgan and Baron make audible every tremor of dark matter between them as Bro crashes into dust in slow motion. Then, “Evening Song.” Despite being a tune this trio has played hundreds of times, it burns like coals, embedded in the moment, with promises of dawn. Bro’s echoing waves are enough to propel Morgan’s vessel forward, hollowed out to make room for one more song.

The album is embraced by two different versions of “Mild.” In both, although to slightly offset effect, a touching arpeggio works its flesh around the bone of a memory. To this, Morgan and Baron add land for that emerging body to walk along, tracking with the precision of a movie camera between lessons learned on the way to those yet to come. From that core is unraveled a sound so complete that it’s a wonder the listener finds any room to be present within it. But find that room the listener does, welcomed as an honored guest for the story being told.

2 thoughts on “Jakob Bro: Bay Of Rainbows (ECM 2618)

  1. Thanks for this, Tyran. I’ve been hoping you’d get to the Bro records. He seems to be a perfect candidate to be the kind of label stalwart as were fellow scandinavians Rypdal, Stenson and Danielsson of the generation before, as the music is notably unforced and seems to come from a single mind. HUZZAH!

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