Bay Of Rainbows

Jakob Bro, Thomas Morgan, Joey Baron

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“There is no hurry to this music, but there is great depth,” observed London Jazz News about Danish guitarist Jakob Bro’s trio with two kindred-spirit Americans: bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Joey Baron. This poetically attuned group follows its ECM studio album of 2016, Streams – which The New York Times lauded as “ravishing” – with what Bro calls “a dream come true,” an album recorded live in New York City, over two nights at the Jazz Standard. Bay of Rainbows rolls on waves of contemplative emotion as the three musicians explore five pieces from the guitarist’s catalog, with the gorgeous “Copenhagen” a favorite reprised from Gefion, Bro’s 2015 ECM release. Others – “Evening Song,” “Red Hook” and the volatile “Dug” – are recast intimately and elastically for trio after having been initially documented by larger ensembles. Bookending Bay of Rainbows are two versions of the richly melodic “Mild,” the abstracted second rendering illustrative of Bro and company’s ability to push and pull the music into mesmerizing new shapes, onstage and in the moment.
Das Trio von Jakob Bro und seinen amerikanischen Weggefährten Thomas Morgan und Joey Baron liefert nach dem 2016 erschienenen Album Streams eine klangstarke Konzertaufnahme, die im New Yorker Jazz Standard mitgeschnitten wurde.
Sie entwickeln aus fünf Stücken Bros facettenreiche Klanggebilde, die einen sphärischen Charakter entwickeln, und dennoch die Intimität der Hörsituation bewahren.
Featured Artists Recorded

July 2017, Jazz Standard, New York

Original Release Date

2018-10-05

  • 1Mild
    (Jakob Bro)
    08:42
  • 2Red Hook
    (Jakob Bro)
    08:34
  • 3Copenhagen
    (Jakob Bro)
    05:16
  • 4Dug
    (Jakob Bro)
    08:29
  • 5Evening Song
    (Jakob Bro)
    04:51
  • 6Mild (var.)
    (Jakob Bro)
    11:17
Sensationell, mit welchen Finessen Morgan mit seinem Navigationsinstrument Kontrabass dieses traumverlorene Schwelgen grundiert, wie er immer anders diesem milden Gedankenstrom Tiefe gibt. Dieses Trio ist auch ein Glücksfall, weil es belegt, dass Jazz keine kompetitive Musik sein muss. Ein intuitives Voranschreiten erlebt man als lange und logische Kette, als einen Masterplan in Tönen, als Schönheit pur, ausgewogen, subtil und doch nicht statisch. Bro lässt seine Gitarrenwolken schweben, wozu Baron sein Drumset kost und dabei einen federnd dezenten Groove zaubert.
Ulrich Steinmetzger, Jazzthing
 
Sechs Stücke zwischen fünf und elf Minuten Länge wurden an zwei Abenden im Juli 2017 im New Yorker ‚Jazz Standard‘ vor Publikum mitgeschnitten. Da gibt es natürlich genügend hörenswerte Soli, die wahre Stärke der Band liegt aber in der geschmeidigen Interaktion der drei Akteure, die sich innerhalb dieser atmosphärisch dichten Soundlandschaften wechselseitig mit Impulsen und kreativen Anreizen  befeuern und einer Komposition mit einem spontanen Akzent einen Drall in eine völlig unerwartete Richtung geben können.
Peter Füssl, Kultur
 
Perfekt kontrastiert das halbe Dutzend Stücke miteinander, ins Ätherische gehoben von dem grandiosen Trio. Bekanntlich trägt jede gute Band drei Alben in sich. Hier zeigt sich eines der spannendsten Gitarrentrios der Gegenwart auf einem Gipfel seines Könnens. Wie Bildhauer befreien die drei ihre Musik von allem unnötigen Ballast und schaffen gemeinsam eine Klangskulptur, die es zu entdecken gilt. Jede der sechs Momentaufnahmen scheint uns etwas sagen zu wollen über den verwirrenden Zustand unserer Welt. Wenn Jazz auch als soziales Modell und humane Utopie taugt, ist diese ‚Bay of Rainbows‘ der Schauplatz für ein Gipfeltreffen von drei Klangvisionären. Allein schon das höchst individuelle Bassspiel Thomas Morgans macht das Livealbum zu einem Hörerlebnis ersten Ranges.
Karl Lippegaus, Westdeutscher Rundfunk
 
The friends work closely, listening and tripping off each other's sounds. They read each other well, they know when to go quiet and let Baron's whispering brushes do the work, or when to look for the exit sign and ease away in step into a quietly-marshalled departure. Thus they appear to pick their way gingerly, leaving a dimly-lit stage through a short gap of silence before the appreciative applause of the New York fans. Check this one out, ‘Bay of Rainbows’ is definitely one of the jazz albums of the year, a mesmeric affair of pieces from the heart.
Paddy Kehoe, RTÈ
 
Bei allen sechs Stücken schaffen die im Raum schwebenden Töne eine entschleunigte, meditative Atmosphäre. Feinfühlig verwendet Bro elektronische Effektgeräte, mit denen er den wehenden Charakter seines Spiels unterstreicht.  Morgan und Baron sind wie auf dem Vorgängeralbum ‚Streams‘ Traumpartner für dieses zarte, offene Konzept.
Werner Stiefele, Audio
 
Die tiefe Empathie, die zwischen den drei Musikern herrscht, ist vom ersten Ton an nicht zu überhören: Mit wenigen Tönen wird ein Maximum an Atmosphäre und Spannung erzeugt. Tatsächlich vergisst man den Aufnahmeort völlig und wird ganz in eine eigene Sphäre mitgenommen […] Am Ende ist klar, dass die Zeit absolut reif für die Veröffentlichung eines weiteren Albums von Jakob Bro war, der damit seinen Ruf als eine der interessantesten Gitarristenpersönlichkeiten unserer Tage eindrucksvoll bestätigt.
Karl Gedlicka, Concerto
 
Danish Guitarist Jakob Bro’s ‘Bay of Rainbows’ occupies a resplendently shimmering meditative space in which the light from Bro’s radiant, dappled arpeggios play over cavernous pools of bass and trickling cymbals courtesy of Thomas Morgan and Joey Baron. This trio’s capacity to quietly build from poetic, starry intervals and surge into abrupt gears shifts of passionate force is nothing short of spine-tingling.
Sid Smith, Prog
 
The Danish jazz guitarist engages in atmospherics, not histrionics; his playing is like the shimmering whispering of a sparkler deep in the dark, silent wood […] The sound is profoundly meditative in character and achieves mamixum intensity on the contemplatively turbulent ‘dug’; ‘Evening song’ is a pretty ballad with a wrinkle in in its brow; while ‘Mild’ is so good it features twice, first as the set opener, then in softly (let’s not say mildly) differing form as the closer.
Robert Shore, Jazzwise
Jakob Bro’s trio with two kindred-spirit Americans, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Joey Baron, follows its 2016 album Streams with an album recorded live in New York City over two nights at the Jazz Standard. Bay of Rainbows rolls on waves of contemplative emotion, with a gradually enveloping lyricism the lodestar. The three musicians explore five pieces from the guitarist’s catalog, including “Copenhagen” a favorite reprised from Gefion, Bro’s 2015 ECM album with Morgan and drummer Jon Christensen. Bookending the new recording are two versions of the richly melodic “Mild,” the abstracted second rendering illustrative of Bro and company’s ability to push and pull the music into mesmerizing new shapes, onstage and in the moment.
 
The 40-year-old Bro – whose initial ECM appearances were on Paul Motian’s Garden of Eden and Tomasz Stanko’s Dark Eyes – just this past spring released his third studio album on the label as a leader: Returnings, which featured the guitarist in league with Morgan, Christensen and trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg. In its review of that disc, DownBeat praised Bro for creating “sound paintings of depth, warmth and beauty.” These words apply just as well to Bay of Rainbows, along with an added degree of spontaneous dynamism – as Bro’s partnership with Morgan and Baron has only deepened after five years of touring far and wide. The guitarist says: “This trio has played ‘Evening Song’ – an older tune of mine that I’ve done multiple ways already – hundreds of times, night after night, city after city, in different kinds of rooms in front of different sorts of audiences. So, the piece keeps evolving, and surprising me.”
 
A prime example of how Bro, Morgan and Baron can morph a song from night to night comes with the two disparate versions of “Mild” on Bay of Rainbows. “It may sound strange to people, but the three of us never talk about the music, not even discussion of intros or outros, or where solos should be,” the guitarist explains. “It all happens on the bandstand. We have this shared desire to really listen to each other, to let the music breathe as we see where we can go moment to moment. Thomas might start something off, and Joey will react – and then when I come in, I have to adapt the way I play the song in order to respond to what they’re doing. Sometimes, the nights feel like one long improvisation.”
 
The title of Bay of Rainbows refers to a humorous gift given to Bro’s baby daughter by his brother-in-law: a deed for a plot of land called Sinus Iridum (Bay of Rainbows), which is on the moon. “It’s a poetic phrase and one I thought was evocative”, the guitarist explains. One track on the album, “Red Hook,” comes from Bro’s past life, as a young striver trying to learn the jazz ropes in New York City. “It was originally titled ‘Red Hook Railroad,’ because I was living in a ‘railroad’ apartment in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn at the time, sharing the place with bassist Ben Street and, sometimes, saxophonist Mark Turner. That was such an intense period for me, learning so much from these great New York musicians. To record a live album all these years later in the place where so many artists I admire live, a city with such a rich musical history, is very special for me.”
 
Thomas Morgan has become an increasingly frequent ECM name, appearing on albums led by Stanko, John Abercrombie, Masabumi Kikuchi, Craig Taborn, Giovanni Guidi, David Virelles and, mostly recently, Bill Frisell (the duo disc Small Town). Bro likes to call the bassist his “musical soulmate.” He adds: “I loved his playing the first time I heard it. Thomas has a gift for supporting the song while also adding tension to it. He’s such a searching player.” Baron has been a pivotal presence in ECM sessions since the late 1980s, including albums led by Frisell, Abercrombie, John Taylor, Gary Peacock, Steve Kuhn and Marc Johnson & Eliane Elias. “Joey’s ears are all over the bandstand,” Bro says. “He isn’t a drummer just keeping time and adding color – he has as many ideas about where the songs should go as Thomas and I do. He has so much imagination, along with this joyful approach to music-making that I love.”
 
As for his own playing, Bro says live performance enables him “get to the bottom of what I can really do on my instrument,” as he takes more room for himself than he might in the studio. The more kinetic side of Bro’s playing can be heard on Bay of Rainbows via the darkly atmospheric “Dug,” with its climactic guitar lines seeming to howl at the moon.
 
Beyond such keening passages, Bay of Rainbows has the strongly contemplative aura that Bro says he’s “always striving for in my music, consciously and unconsciously, I suppose. I’ve always wanted to make the kind of music that I would want to listen to myself, and I can be drawn toward a certain meditative quality. I love albums that sustain a mood, whether it’s Brian Eno or John Coltrane, and I realize now that it’s a real challenge to do that live, to establish a vibe and keep hold of it, especially as you explore – you don’t want to lose the essence of a song. And that essence always derives from an emotion for me, something that I hope reaches the listener.”
YEAR DATE VENUE LOCATION
2024 March 06 Bimhuis Amsterdam, Netherlands
2024 March 07 deSingel Antwerp, Belgium
2024 March 08 Flagey Brussels, Belgium
2024 March 15 Dunkers Kulturhus Helsingborg, Sweden
2024 May 25 Gnisten Ry, Denmark
2024 May 26 Gnisten Ry, Denmark
2024 August 11 Kultursalonerne Gisselfeld Haslev, Denmark