Life to Everything is the new live album by Anglo/Scandinavian trio Phronesis, recorded over three shows ‘in the round’ at The Cockpit, London as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival in November 2013.
Since the success of their fourth album ‘Walking Dark’ two years ago, the trio have been on a meteoric rise, gaining acclaim from fans over two tours of the USA and Canada and a tour of Australia, whilst also rising to the forefront of the European club and festival scene. With so much time spent on the road and a reputation for spell-binding roller-coaster live performances, (which led to Jazzwise once describing them as one of the most exciting bands on the planet), it was natural for the band to want to record their fifth album in front of a live audience. In Høiby’s words – ‘performing live has been the strength of this trio from the start – it sparks an extra focus, excitement and joy. As the album title suggests – it’s where everything comes to life’.
With a highly developed musical understanding between them, onstage these three strong individual personalities are very much a collective, demonstrating an uncanny empathy and a telepathic singular sound like the synaptic firings of one mind. With totally balanced contributions by each band member, the warmth and intensity of the trio’s magical interaction is captured perfectly on Life to Everything, enhanced by the ‘in the round’ set-up of the recording, which as Høiby explains, was a deliberate choice ‘to provide perfect sightlines and an invisible thread of energy between us’.
Over the nine tracks, each member takes a writing credit for three compositions, yet the undeniable trademark Phronesis sound of catchy hooks, complex changes, crackling rhythms and heady grooves is present throughout – a testament to their skills as individual composers.
From the ‘big commanding tone and skittering composure’ (New York Times) of Høiby’s bass at the start of Eger’s Urban Control, layered by Neame’s inventive melodic piano lines and Eger’s relentless creative countercurrents, the sound is instantly recognisable as Phronesis.
Life to Everything has the irresistible excitement, skillful flair and expansive compositional craft that result in undoubtably Phronesis’s most accomplished artistic statement to date.