Jakob Sørensen’s Bagland ‘Cirkel’ LP/CD (Jaeger Community Music) 4/5

Scandinavia has been relentless in its consistency to show the rest of the world its place on the global platform. We are regularly exposed to stunning television and acting; the likes of Sofia Helin, Mia Jexen, Sofie Gråbøl and Aliette Opheim all spring to mind as I write, and it’s on this topic that I find myself discovering the actress Sarah Francesca Brænne (The Rules for Everything), of whom Jakob Sørensen called upon for his 2017 album cover of FABEL and closing piece, ‘Mundelstrup’ on the visual album of the same year. The world of art, media and music often cross paths and I for one regularly find myself within a loop, a circle of events so to speak, and it is to Denmark, Sweden and Finland I find I navigate my ears and eyes more and more these past few years. Notably listening to Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Esbjörn Svensson and Olli Ahvenlahti whilst discovering new names in Joonas Leppänen, Jukka Tolonen, Thomas Fonnesbæk, Jaska Lukkarinen, Sigurd Hole, Bruno Råberg and Kenneth Dahl Knudsen.

Since finishing his studies in Aarhus, Denmark (the very foundation for Jakob Bro), Jakob Sørensen has released BAGLAND (2015), NOMAD (2016), FABEL (2017) – incidentally 2017 was to award Jokob ‘New Jazz Name of the Year’ – and now CIRKEL (2019), all on the Danish Jaeger Community Music label, the latter featuring Frederik Sakham – double bass, Alex Jønsson – guitar, Frej Lesner – drums, Mathias Jæger – piano/synthesizer, and Jakob Sørensen – trumpet. This recent but consistent writing has given the ‘Bagland’ project room to breath; one that of the ten pieces, Jakob has written eight of the numbers with regular live performances throughout Denmark enabling the group to fine-tune their understanding of each other; and understanding I feel is communicated best between Mathias Jæger and Jakob Sørensen.

The title track alone provides Mathias Jæger with perhaps my most impressed of moments. Trumpet work echoes and takes the listener to a much further place whilst what sounds like a pedal steel guitar holds the emotions throughout the gripping chapter. A beautiful place to start the Bagland story, and one where I found myself running to the record shelves to pull out the classic Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays’ ‘Are You Going With Me?’. There’s an eerie similarity for me with Alex Jønsson beside Jakob Sørensen (although no trumpet was used in the making of Offramp!). Perhaps Jacob Worm has mixed and mastered this release well enough to have plucked that thought straight from this writer’s memories – perhaps indeed many could learn much from Jacob Worm’s menneskesyn, as they might say in the native lands. So be it ‘Drapeau Blanc’ with its uplifting chase theme, or the moody excitement of ‘Bryllup’, there is a significant development in this sequel and listening to the vinyl album now for the past few weeks has been a wonderful experience. I understand better the importance on the background for CIRKEL being that of Skagen, the Top of Denmark, its peninsula where the varied landscape with drifting sand, harshness of the North Sea and the encirclement of Norway and Sweden could provide any writer ample inspiration and any listener a place to drift in joy, in sadness, in contemplation. Having now notched up work on over ten albums, we must thank Jakob for Bagland, for its journey and the story, it has a remarkable setting, a curious plot, and filled with captivating characters.

Upcoming live shows:

Feb 23 – Kulturstationen Vanløse – Copenhagen, Denmark
Mar 17 – Aarhus Kunsthal/jazzselskabet – Aarhus, Denmark
Mar 21 – Huset – Aalborg, Denmark
Apr 13 – Jazzhouse på Tobbers – Kolding, Denmark

Steve Williams