REVIEW: Phronesis - Parallax Album Launch at Cadogan Hall

Phronesis at the start of the Cadogan Hall album launch
(Cadogan Hall. Parallax Album Launch. 12th June 2016. Review by Sebastian Scotney)

Apart from the standing ovation at the end of the show, the loudest audience responses kept on going to Anton Eger. More than once last night at at Cadogan Hall, the drummer of Phronesis showed how, by raising the heat at the end of a number, by building intensity ever louder and busier. the energy setting can be racked up to the point where an audience whooping and cheering becomes a natural segue - in fact the only response possible. Eger lets rip, he lets go, and yet what he does is also calibrated and under control. He seemed to underline that point by waiting for the encore to really break free. He sent a stray cymbal scudding across the centre of the stage. A cymbal of freedom, perhaps?

The heat of the moment, the joy this band clearly derives from its music-making made the facts that this concert was an album launch in Phronesis' tenth year almost incidental. Indeed Jasper Høiby's references to 'you-have-an-album-to-buy' and 'we-have-an-album-to-sell' were always tongue in cheek. The Danish bassist now does British understatement far better than we do.

I have been listening intently to both Eger and pianist Ivo Neame in a very different context recently, writing a press release for the forthcoming album Snowmelt, by Marius Neset and the London Sinfonietta. That album of precisely scored music brings out their strong musical personalities when playing in controlled circumstances in a studio. To hear them live, in Phronesis where new directions can be set in the moment, was exhilarating, particularly after the interval. once some issues with the sound had been sorted.

There was, as ever, much to enjoy for people who enjoy the loud unstable grooves at illegal speeds, ("that was insane, man," is the kind of comment I was overhearing at half-time), but there were also quieter, more poetic moments. The pianissimo ending to Phraternal was a joy. the restrained opening to A Silver Moon was heartfelt, and the beautiful woody tone of Høiby's arco playing in Stillness also stays indelibly in the mind.

Høiby may also be the first artist to stand on the Cadogan Hall stage and to court danger by inviting the entire audience in the hall to come and have a drink with him afterwards. I hope they were buying, because he will have deserved every drink he was bought.

A standing ovation at the end


67.000 mph
Song For The Lost Nomads
A Silver Moon
Ok Chorale


Urban Control
Kite For Seamus
Behind Bars
Encore: Abrahams New Gift

LINK: Interview by Marta Ramon with Jasper Høiby about Parallax

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