Evening Falls

Jacob Young

CD18,90 out of print
Featured Artists Recorded

December 2002, Rainbow Studio, Oslo

Original Release Date


  • 1Blue
    (Jacob Young)
  • 2Evening air
    (Jacob Young)
  • 3Minor Peace
    (Jacob Young)
  • 4Looking for Jon
    (Jacob Young)
  • 5Sky
    (Jacob Young)
  • 6Presence of descant
    (Jacob Young, Jon Christensen)
  • 7Formerly
    (Jacob Young)
  • 8The Promise
    (Jacob Young)
  • 9Falling
    (Jacob Young)
Stereoplay, Klangtipp
Evening Falls is the first recording on a major label for Norwegian-American guitarist Jacob Young, and it is bright with promise. … Young’s nine originals on Evening Falls are remarkable for their freshness, grace and lyrical purity. Songs like “Blue” and “The Promise” deserve to become jazz standards. They have the requisite inevitability, sounding as if they have always been here. With the unusual instrumentation of trumpet, bass clarinet, guitar, bass and drums, Young sets crosscurrents in motion and provides for subtle continuous counterpoint. Two other brilliant young Norwegian musicians make their debuts. Trumpeter Mathias Eick is only 24, but he plays precise, stark lines of aching melancholy. Mats Eilertsen may be the next in a long line of great Scandinavian bassists. Together, Eilertsen and the wily veteran of this band, Jon Christensen, generate a restless, flickering energy that gives this music its quiet fire.
Thomas Conrad, Jazztimes
Any guitarist signing up to Manfred Eicher's ECM label is in good company; over the past 30 or so years, the label has done much to redefine the role of the instrument in contemporary jazz by providing a home to players as diverse as Pat Metheny, Terje Rypdal, Bill Frisell and even Derek Bailey. Jacob Young is yet another prodigiously talented player from the Nordic jazz gene pool, here making his debut for the label... The guitarist gives us melancholic, tasteful chamber jazz, immaculately produced and played...Beautiful stuff.
Peter Marsh, BBC i Music
This week’s highlight is Jacob Young’s ECM debut. The 33 year old has for a long time been one the most complete jazz guitarists in Norway, but never before has his musical identity been more strongly expressed on CD than on Evening Falls. His compositions are good, and in his regular band – Mathias Eick, Vidar Johansen, Mats Eilertsen, Jon Christensen – he has musicians that make them come alive in an adventurous and sensitive way.
Eick’s Kenny Wheeler/Dave Douglas inspired (but not plagiated) trumpet playing glows in these “nightmoods”. Christensen impresses in the “time and colour” role he has made for himself in jazz, and Young himself has jazz guitar history from Jim Hall to Pat Metheny in every single note. Patient perfection and never failing love of creative musicianship melt together and become a higher entity in this warming counterpoint to all the tundra-cold musical surface mud that surround us.
Terje Mosne, Dagbladet (Norway)
The Norwegian guitarist’s debut for ECM cements the favourable impression he has made in the company of artists like Karin Krog and Trygve Seim ... The music is all composed by the guitarist, with the exception of one cut co-written with veteran drummer Jon Christensen, whose trademark work behind the kit underpins the spacious ensemble feel of the music. As would expected from this line-up, the music has a strong Nordic feel, particularly in the composer’s lyrical melody lines and the haunting sonorities of Eick’s plangent trumpet and Johansen’s bass clarinet.
Kenny Mathieson, Jazzwise
A lyrical, softly swaying debut from a Norwegian guitarist who, despite his youth, has worked with some of the luminaries of the Scandinavian scene, including Nil Petter Molvaer and Trygve Seim. ECM house-drummer Jon Christensen lends his alert restraint to the set, and the gifted Mats Eilertsen alternately pushes and cushions the music at every turn on bass.
Jacob Young was a student of Jim Hall and John Abercrombie, and the connections are apparent in his subtle dynamics and rounded tone. You might think, judging by Young’s cool, oblique antecedents and ECM’s history, that this is destined to be an ambient, slow-moving, idiomatically ambiguous affair. But although it’s largely pensive, it has its surprisingly jazzy and nimble moments, with incisive solos from saxophonist and clarinettist Vidar Johansen, and some stunning contributions from trumpeter Mathias Eick.
John Fordham, The Guardian
Pour la beauté intrinsèque des compositions qui offrent de beaux prétextes à l’improvisation ; pour un univers cohérent d’atmosphères et de tempo flottant ; pour la révélation d’un trompettiste nouveau, Mathias Eick, à l’avenir sûr ; pour Jon Christensen et son jeu de cymbale minimal, lumineux ; pour la force tranquille que dégage Jacob Young, on salue ce premier album chez ECM qui … donne à entendre une musique vive et dense à laquelle on reviendra.
Vincent Bessières, Jazzman
Wunderbar dichte, lyrische Kompositionen, absolut egalitär arrangiert, immer im Fluss, mit solistischen Glanzleistungen (insbesondere von Trompeter Mathias Eick), die nicht artistisch herausragen, sondern als durchgängige Tiefenschicht angelegt sind und das Album sinnlich wie intellektuell zum Genuss machen. Als besonderer Glücksgriff erwies sich auch die Verpflichtung von Jon Christensen für Youngs Working Group. Der Altmeister begleitet eine Band längst nicht mehr auf seinem Drum Set, sondern dirigiert sie regelrecht mit seinem reduzierten Spiel durch immer pointierte Impulse, als sei bei ihm der Stick im doppelten Wortsinn ein Taktstock.
Volker Doberstein, Jazzpodium
Eigentlich sind es Songs, die der junge norwegische Gitarrist Jacob Young für sein internationals Debüt schreiben wollte, und da ist auch etwas dran: etwa im stolpernden, an Kurt Weill erinnernden Duktus von “Looking For Jon” oder in der schlichten, quasi-folkloristischen Schönheit von “Evening Air”. Aber natürlich sind die neun Stücke auch weit mehr als nur Songs: Ausnahme-Schlagzeuger Jon Christensen, eindeutig der Veteran dieses Quintetts, bietet mit seinem offenen, weite Räume aufreißendem Drumming viel Platz für die eigentliche Wesensart des Jazz, die Improvisation. Youngs weicher Ton hat von beiden seiner New Yorker Lehrer, Jim Hall und John Abercrombie, etwas. Neben ihm prägt vor allem der blutjunge Trompeter Mathias Eick ... das Klangbild. Titel wie „Sky“ oder „Falling“ machen es schon deutlich: Jacob Youngs Musik ist federleicht und luftig, mit der Tendenz zum Abheben.
Rolf Thomas, Jazzthing
“Evening Falls” is the international debut recording of an exceptional musician from the seemingly inexhaustible Norwegian talent pool that ECM has returned to over the decades. Jacob Young is a guitarist, bandleader, improviser and jazz composer whose sensibilities have been shaped both by the history of the music as it has unfolded in the North and by his deep knowledge of the American jazz tradition, studied also at first hand.

Born in Lillehammer in 1970, Young was introduced to jazz by his American father. At the age of 12 he took up the guitar and was, initially, self-taught on the instrument. After studying music at the University of Oslo, he received a scholarship to the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan. His years there “were devoted to learning the standard jazz repertoire as a starting point for a broader understanding of improvised harmonic music.” Young’s principal teacher was the great guitarist Jim Hall (Jacob’s warm, glowing, rounded tone acknowledges the influence), with whom he studied both privately and in ensemble settings. He also took lessons with John Abercrombie (who later praised his “great playing in and out of the tradition”) and studied jazz composition with Richie Beirach and Ken Werner. After attaining his degree in 1993, Young freelanced around New York for two years playing with, amongst others, Rashied Ali, Marc Copeland, Arnie Lawrence, Junior Mance and Larry Goldings.

Back in Norway he issued three albums for local labels with a cast of supporting musicians including Nils Petter Molvaer, Trygve Seim, Arve Henriksen, Christian Wallumrød, and Jarle Vespestad, and other names familiar to ECM listeners. Producer Manfred Eicher first heard Jakob Young playing live with Trygve Seim’s group at the Blå Club in Oslo a few years back. Young also caught the attention of long-established Norwegian singer Karin Krog who formed a duo with the guitarist which has since toured the world. (A Krog/Young CD “Where Flamingos Fly”, comprised mostly of standards, was produced by John Surman for Norwegian label Grappa).

The band on “Evening Falls” has been a working group for two years now and is uniquely set up by Young to reflect the styles and ideas of three generations of Norwegian improvisers – the age range of the band stretches from 24 (extraordinary young trumpeter Matthias Eick) to 60 (veteran drumming genius Jon Christensen).

Of the music on “Evening Falls”, Jacob Young says, “These are lyrical compositions - songs - but at the same time it’s jazz music, with a lot of room for melodic interplay and improvisation.” All pieces are written by Young, save for one co-composed with Christensen.

Jon Christensen’s resumé need hardly be itemized here; he’s played on more ECM studio recordings than any other player. His particular wide-open improvisational responses have enlivened any number of sessions, in all kinds of styles, but he’s particularly happy to be playing music than can unambiguously be called jazz with Young’s ensemble. Jacob says of him, “He’s a European institution of modern drumming, a master of music, probably the most influential musician of his generation. A constant source of inspiration…” One of the few remaining jazz musicians committed to the concept of the music as “the sound of surprise”, Christensen always finds new ways to inflect the material and to frame each soloist’s statements.

The touchingly melancholic tone of his trumpet and his flair for vaulting melodies has sometimes made critics allude to Kenny Wheeler in the two years that Mathias Eick has been playing with Jacob Young. But Eick too is an improviser who adapts his playing to the context in which he finds himself. He is often heard with the band Jaga Jazzist, playing in the cracks between rock and jazz, and has also collaborated with notorious indie-rock band Motorpsycho.

Heard mostly on bass clarinet on “Evening Falls” but also, briefly, on tenor sax, is Vidar Johansen. Johansen was a mainstay of Oslo’s Club 7 jamming scene in the 1970s, and is a widely respected player. He has also been a contributor to the ‘little big band’ Oslo 13 under Jon Balke’s direction, and to Bugge Wesseltoft’s so-called New Conceptions of Jazz.

Bassist Mats Eilertsen has worked with Jacob Young since 1996; the leader describes him as “one of the most wonderful musicians to have emerged in Norway in recent years”. Eilertsen has also played with Bobo Stenson, with the Ian Ballamy/Arve Henriksen band Food (as on the Rune Grammofon released album “Veggie” last year) and many others.

2024 May 30 Nattjazz Bergen, Norway