Med “Uma Elmo” præsenterer Jakob Bro samtidig en ny trio, der foruden ham selv tæller den norske trompetist Arve Henriksen og den spanske trommeslager Jorge Rossy. De tre spillede første gang sammen, da de i Swiss Radio-studiet i Lugano indspillede albummet med Manfred Eicher i producerstolen. Blandt højdepunkterne på pladen finder man åbneren “Reconstructing a Dream”, en mørk og lyrisk dagdrøm, der blot understreger rigtigheden af London Jazz News’ observation: “there is no hurry to this music, but there is great depth.”
Plads til hyldester
“To Stanko” er Bros stille hyldest til den afdøde polske trompetist, der indlemmede guitaristen i sin kvintet under arbejdet med albummet “Dark Eyes”. Også nummeret “Music for Black Pigeons” er en hyldest til en afdød musiker – nemlig Lee Konitz, som Bro også arbejdede tæt sammen med.
Lyttere vil genkende Arve Henriksens hviskende, intime lyd fra hans album “Cartography” (2008), lige som der vækkes minder om mandens samarbejder med Trio Mediaeval og Tigran Hamasyan. Rossy er et velkendt navn blandt jazzfans på begge sider af Atlanten – ikke mindst for sit mangeårige virke i Brad Mehldaus første trio. Om Bro skrev Downbeat i forbindelse med udgivelsen af “Bay of Rainbows” (2018), at “Bro’s guitar is luminous… his music both hypnotic and dramatic.”
Inspireret af sine børn
Titlen “Uma Elmo” har Bro fra sin lille datter og nyfødte søn, da det slet og ret er deres mellemnavne, der gemmer sig bag ordene. Og det er ikke tilfældigt, at han har ladet sig inspirere af deres navne – guitaristen har således komponeret store dele af albummet, når hans lille søn har sovet. “It’s a special time in my life right now with the kids being so young – and it’s also a strange time in the world, of course,” udtaler Bro.
“I wrote music for the recording session being doubtful that we could actually all meet and complete the session, at the end of summer this past year, with a German producer, Spanish drummer, Sweden-based Norwegian trumpeter, Danish guitarist-composer and an Italian engineer – all in a studio in Switzerland.And the music is, as it always is, a reflection, more or less abstract, of what’s going on around us. To have this musical document from this year will always represent some kind of milestone for me. And to have everyone there in Lugano: Manfred, Jorge, Arve and engineer Stefano Amerio, all determined to shape and capture this music with me despite the many obstacles facing us – needless to say, I’m very grateful.”
På “Uma Elmo” tager Henriksen ofte den melodiske føring i Bros kompositioner. Han svæver og smyger sig som en serpentine ind og ud ad Rossys både diskrete og dynamiske rytmer og guitaristens harmoniske glimmer, elegante linjer og loopede atmosfæriske stemninger.
Om sine bandkolleger siger Bro: “I performed with Jorge Rossy a ECM few times before the Uma Elmo session, including a tribute concert for Paul Motian during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival in 2014 and then at the ECM50 event in Warsaw. But I admired Jorge from the first time I heard him, back in 1997 or so. He was on many albums with musicians I loved, like Chris Cheek, Mark Turner, Larry Grenadier, Ethan Iverson, Kurt Rosenwinkel and, of course, Brad Mehldau. Jorge has a deep understanding of time and form. He can be there inside the music, with everything around him moving, and just be present, not do too much, playing exactly enough, adding warmth, drive, contrasts, color, time, swing, soul. He also has a great sense of composition within the composition itself – making the music breathe.”
Bro hæftede sig ved Henriksen i 2016. “Arve’s sound struck me immediately,” siger han. “And I soon began talking with him about a collaboration. But the session in Lugano was not only the first time we played music together – it was also my first actual physical encounter with him! It turned out to be an inspirational meeting. But it was invaluable to have Manfred on the side, listening, advising and guiding, especially since the three of us were coming together for the first time.”
De store mestre
Bro reflekterer over nummeret “To Stanko”: “I wrote the song to celebrate the life and sound of my friend Tomasz Stanko, in whose band I recorded and toured worldwide for more than five years. Stanko was such a soulful musician. For me, the mystery of music, why some sounds move me, is an essential part of my continued curiosity in playing. With Stanko, it was so evident. With one note, he told his story. When life pours out of an instrument, you’ve reached the ultimate, in my opinion. Arve plays beautifully on my tribute, “To Stanko”. Tomasz would never play or sound like this – which, to me, just makes the dedication even stronger, emphasizing the fact that the inspiration from Stanko goes way deeper than anything you can define.”
Om “Reconstructing a Dream” genkalder Bro, hvordan han med udgangspunkt i Paul Motians eksempel lærte at rekontekstualisere sit repertoire: “Performing at the Village Vanguard with Paul and also recording his ECM album “Garden of Eden”, we worked with such pieces as “Etude”, “Mumbo Jumbo” etc. – songs Paul had composed for his earlier groups,” forklarer guitaristen.
“Having listened to all of Paul’s recordings, knowing his songbook so well, it was an out-of-this-world experience for me to reimagine this music with him. So, having recorded “Reconstructing a Dream” 13 years ago in New York with Paul for one of my albums, it felt like time to reinterpret this song. And with Jorge on drums this time. Jorge, to me, is a beautiful, warm, poetic drummer. I’m sure Paul would approve. “Slaraffenland” is another track on “Uma Elmo” associated with Paul for me, because he included this tune of mine in the repertoire for a tour with the Electric Bebop Band when I was quite young.”
“Uma Elmo” favner både gamle helte og nye liv, fortryllende lyde og tider med rum for eftertænksomhed og fremelsker en aura, der bliver hængende længe efter, at musikken er stoppet. Med de allerede nævnte numre og tracks som “Beautiful Day”, “Sound Flower” og “Housework” samt to udgaver af “Morning Song” har Jakob Bro og kompagni i disse besynderlige tider skabt et værk af tidløs værdi.