Phronesis parenthesis: A chat with jazz poster-boy Jasper Høiby

IF awards are anything to go by, then Phronesis are the hottest jazz act in the country right now. Their breakthrough album, Alive, picked up two very notable gongs last year – Jazzwise’s Album of the Year, and Mojo’s Jazz album of the Year, while the band were nominated for best group at Parliamentary Jazz Awards, and best jazz group at the MOBOs.
All very impressive for a band who, on paper, are just a straight, acoustic trio – albeit one named after Aristotle’s term for “practical wisdom”.
Very heavy stuff, but bandleader Jasper Høiby describes the band’s sound as “accessable, explosive, loving and fun,” which is more than you can ask of any jazz act. Originally formed in his native Copenhagen four years ago, Høiby was intent on forming a trio to keep the music as spontaneous and expressive as possible.
“I didn’t want it to be all Jasper Høiby’s Ego Trip,” explains said the bassist. “It’s important to emphasis we are three people and we’re all equally important.”
That fact has never been more true; bringing a set of new tunes to their current tour, pianist Ivo Neame and drummer Anton Eger are both contributing two compositions apiece to the set for the first time.
What, then, is the secret of Phronesis’ universal acclaim?
“It’s not a massive surprise to me,” Høiby adds. “The music by its nature is pretty accessible, it’s melodic and rhythmic and has an energy people can really relate to.”

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