Recorded live in the Cockpit theatre at Jez Nelson’s Jazz in the Round over the course of two nights of the 2013 London Jazz Festival, the artwork to this release has a quotation from Plato on the back worth mentioning as it explains the title: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”
The trio are depicted in a graphics sleight of hand behind the quotation hidden partially in shadow and presumably nice and dry as water streams down the window-like screen in front of them. On the front inside a kind of a globe they’re standing via the magic of a fisheye-type lens in front of what looks like modern apartment blocks; inside bassist Jasper Høiby in performance is looking towards an ecstatic-looking Anton Eger on drums while pianist Ivo Neame looks to Anton mid-note. Each of the three contribute three compositions and this material is uniformly attractive and absorbing without making compromises or indulging in gimmickry.
Phronesis first made their mark properly with Alive, another live album recorded not far away from Marylebone in Camden, but that was a little different as its drummer was future Mehliana rhythm matador Mark Guiliana although the character and shape of the music was clear. In those days the band had a stronger Avishai Cohen influence than now, although you can still hear it a bit (for instance ‘Herne Hill’) but Phronesis have their own sound which is very distinctive, exciting, New Melodic, full of individuality, sheer verve and improvisational resource that goes way beyond mere technical command although all three players have this in abundance. Rousing and refreshing anyone who likes good jazz will need to hear Life to Everything.
Released on 7 April. Phronesis, above, play the Norfolk and Norwich Festival on 20 May; Colston Hall, Bristol on 23 May; Sage Gateshead 27 May; RNCM, Manchester, 28 May; Union Chapel, London 29 May; Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast on 30 May and Town Hall, Birmingham, 31 May