Jasper Høiby previews Phronesis and guests at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, 5th April

Phronesis: Anton Eger, Jasper Høiby, Ivo Neame

Jasper Høiby talks about the forthcoming Phronesis concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre on Friday 5th April 2013.

Playing at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with this line-up (Olivia Chaney – vocals, Dave Maric – keyboards/electronics/etc., Jim Hart – vibes/percussion, plus Phronesis) is a dream of mine about to come true.

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Back in college I used to have an extended ensemble called Qualia, which is the band that put all my first bits of writing to the test, teaching me what did or didn’t work. Some of the pieces that passed the test have ended up on Phronesis albums later on in trio format like Blue Inspiration, Untitled#2 and Organic Warfare.

Qualia included the very same Olivia Chaney on vocals and Ivo was on piano, though he started on alto. Other great characters were involved too: Tom Arthurs was on flugel, Justin Quinn on guitar and Tim Giles and Tom Skinner played drums respectively.

Through Olivia I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Maric and I remember being blown away by encountering someone who was so fluent in composition and just in music in general. He totally openened my ears and eyes to so many new things. I was very drawn to his music and to his balance of melody and rhythmic intricacy, which seemed to really resonate with me on a very deep level.

Coming to music late and from a totally different background, Olivia and Dave were also my introduction to classical music and they made me properly aware of composers like Bach, Bartok and Stravinsky.

Jim Hart is someone I met purely through jazz and we must have played our first gig together in 2002. That was when his main instrument was still drums probably as much as mine was still electric bass. Anyway, I have been a fan of Jim’s for years as well as having the luck to play and record with his band Gemini, and he has played a couple of Phronesis gigs on drums too, so I know he understands my music.

My musical focus these days is the trio, and all the playing and time spent with Ivo and Anton has been invaluable to me in so many ways. There’s a real trust between the three of us and a deep and very instantaneous musical understanding too. In a way it’s something that’s taken us years to build up, but thinking about it the seeds have actually been there from the very first time we played together.

I’m looking forward to presenting some new material from the trio in the first half of this concert, which we will be recording later this year for the next Phronesis album. Then in the second half, being able to extend the trio with Dave Maric adding extra lines as well as an electronic perspective, Jim Hart’s vibraphone engaging on a linear and rhythmic level plus something more pure than all of this combined – the voice of Olivia Chaney. I get to play with some of my favourite musicians in London and even better, I get to present them all to those who until now might not have heard about them.

So all in all I guess this concert is a look back down memory lane for me. An attempt to pay homage to some of the important people and events in my development that have helped me to grow as a musician, composer and human being since I moved to the UK. And it’s an opportunity to present these towering talents in the setting of Phronesis, my favourite band to play in, which our audiences have helped along the way to get to where we are today by giving us all their support. In a way it’s come full circle.

Phronesis and the South Bank have also invited Laura Jurd’s Quartet to play a free-stage at the QEH before Phronesis, starting around 5 45pm.

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