Danish born, but London resident bassist Jasper Høiby is best known to British jazz aficionados for his leadership of group Phronesis. However, he has been keen to follow/pursue a parallel career and this is the latest manifestation, following on logically from the 2015 release, ‘Malika’ that included pianist Liam Noble and saxophonist Mark Lockheart, the latter of whom returns for a second instalment. The new offering finds Hoiby in more reflective mode, contemplating contemporary and pressing ecological issues that have been transposed into a musical context, and, in general, inspired by a recent book from author Naomi Klein. Joining him in the endeavour are some of the leading lights of the British jazz scene, some of whom are musical leaders in their own right.
The fine interplay between pianist Will Barry and the leader endures on ‘World Of Contradictions’, while ‘Before’ is characterised by a strong calypso feel. if the mood is uplifting on ‘Song For The Bees’, it does actually vary throughout the CD and has its fair share of melancholic moments, but returns to a more positive outlook on the summery, ‘Plastic Island’, that closes out the album. It begins with the overriding them of ecology and nature emphasized on ‘Folk Song’, and all the pieces are originals composed by the leader. Watch out for an imminent new release on Edition from trumpeter Laura Jurd that will shortly be reviewed in these columns.