Phronesis (band)

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Photo: Denmark 2018
Photo: Denmark 2018
Background information
OriginLondon Copenhagen
Years active2005–present
LabelsEdition Records
Associated actsLoop Collective
Ivo Neame
WebsiteOfficial site
MembersJasper Høiby
Ivo Neame
Anton Eger

Phronesis is a Jazz trio, formed in 2005 by Danish bass player Jasper Høiby, the piano trio is completed by British pianist Ivo Neame and Swedish drummer Anton Eger. Phronesis have been described by Jazzwise magazine as "the most exciting and imaginative piano trio since e.s.t. - Esbjörn Svensson Trio".[1] In 2017 the band was awarded Jazz Ensemble of the Year in the APPJAG (The All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group) Parliamentary Jazz Awards ([2]


The original lineup of the band was Jasper Høiby, Magnus Hjorth and Anton Eger, their debut release was Organic Warfare (Loop Records). The band's distinctive sound with an accent on strong melodies and propulsive grooves was audible from this first album.[3] In 2009 Magnus Hjorth was replaced by Ivo Neame and this lineup continues.[4] Phronesis first attracted the attention of the UK jazz press in 2009 with the release of their second album Green Delay, receiving critical acclaim from The Guardian, John Fordham referring to their "infectious, accessible sound".[5]

The trio's third album, Alive, was recorded live at The Forge, London in March 2010 and released later that year on British label Edition Records, and featured guest US drummer Mark Guiliana. The album was named as ‘Jazz Album of the Year’ by Jazzwise.[6] They were nominated for ‘Best Jazz Ensemble’ in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2010,[7] featured on the front cover of Jazzwise Magazine and nominated for ‘Best Jazz Act’ at the MOBO Awards of that year.[8]

In 2011 the band toured internationally, performing at New York's Jazz Standard, the Rochester International Jazz Festival,[9] Montreal Jazz Festival and Ottawa Jazz Festivals. At Brecon Jazz Festival the band premiered their project entitled Pitch Black, performing in a completely darkened auditorium and playing compositions from Green Delay which was composed after Høiby's sister had gone blind. This concert received rapturous reviews from audience and critics alike, "a unique, unmissable triumph" wrote the Telegraph's critic James Lacho in a 5-star review.[10] The Guardian critic described the experience: "After the opening number, all doors were sealed and the lights went down, obliging us to concentrate on nothing but vivid, 3D sound, beautifully mixed by August Wanngren. This triumphant concert was dedicated to Høiby's sister, who lost her sight five years ago."[11] Pitch Black was repeated in Germany and at a sold out show in London Jazz Festival in the Purcell Room in November 2011 where the All About Jazz reviewer drew attention to "Ripples of tension swimming through the audience alongside the band's writhing polyrhythms were so palpable that a concerned Høiby repeatedly enquired after their wellbeing."[12]

The band's fourth album Walking Dark, released in early 2012, was inspired by the Pitch Black project, the band touring extensively in Europe to promote its release. "This is music that reflects many moods, but never loses its optimism" wrote Bruce Lindsay in All About Jazz in a 4.5 star review.[13] Walking Dark was the first recording where all three band members contributed to the writing as well as arranging the compositions.

In April 2013, Phronesis headlined at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall.[14] They returned to Canada and the United States, including a show at the Jazz Standard in New York City.[15] They went on to perform for 3 nights at sell out shows during the EFG London Jazz Festival at The Cockpit Theatre, London where they recorded their second live album Life to Everything in the round. Jazzwise wrote "Performing in-the-round and playing like men possessed, the music felt like their most complete artistic statement to date – a fine mix of their incendiary grooves, memorable melodic hooks and spellbinding interaction."[16]

In 2014 Phronesis released their fifth album Life to Everything and a second nomination as Best Jazz Act in the MOBO Awards."[17] In the Guardian, John Fordham wrote of the album " A live album is exactly just the way to get the current Phronesis message across, and this is a powerful one" and awarded the album 4-stars.[18]

The band marked their ten year anniversary with a tour of Ireland, dates in Germany and Switzerland, a sold-out Pitch Black show at Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2015 then back to Canada. Jazzwise wrote of Pitch Black "It’s three minds operating as one, a deep, almost uncanny empathy that stands them apart from any other piano trio in Europe."[19] The ten year celebrations continued with further touring and commissioning Julian Argüelles to arrange some of their back catalogue for performance alongside the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, performing in Germany and at London Jazz Festival.[20] Also that autumn the band recorded their sixth album at Abbey Road Studios London.

With the release of their sixth album Parallax in spring 2016, they toured Europe, with an album release at London's 950 seat Cadogan Hall. The Guardian enthused "Phronesis did their reputation as a killer live band no harm at all with this powerful show."[21] Parallax received excellent reviews "In truth, Phronesis are one of the most exciting jazz trios around" in a 4.5 star review in All About Jazz.[22]

The Behemoth, their seventh album, released in 2017, was a recording with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band of Phronesis compositions arranged and conducted by Julian Argüelles which they'd toured in 2015. Among many enthusiastic reviews, one reviewer wrote "So incredibly rich in play and timbre. An album to discover again and again and to amaze you."[23] 2017 culminated in the band winning 'Jazz Ensemble of the Year' award at the UK’s Parliamentary Jazz Awards.[24]

The album cover to their 2018 release We Are All references the environmentalist John Muir, and continues the themes that Høiby explored in his band Fellow Creatures, inspired by the book This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein.[25] "Thematically, this release is about togetherness and balance" said one reviewer.[26] The band included electronic instruments on one track, adding a new sound element.[26] To commemorate the tenth anniversary of their record label Edition Records they performed all their albums back to back over several evenings at PizzaExpress Jazz Club Soho."This is one of the most intense things I’ve ever done," admitted Jasper Høiby.[27]

On 11 February 2020, the band announced that, from the end of 2020, Phronesis would be taking an "extended break" to allow the members to pursue their own individual projects.[28]




  1. ^ "Albums of the year 2010". Jazzwise. 10 December 2010.
  2. ^ "Winners announced for the Parliamentary Jazz Awards" JazzFM 11 October 2017
  3. ^ "Organic Warfare" The Jazz Mann 17 September 2017
  4. ^ "We Are All" The Jazz Mann 29 September 2077
  5. ^ "Phronesis:Green Delay" The Guardian 8 May 2009
  6. ^ "Twenty years of Jazzwise's Albums of the Year" Archived 2018-01-21 at the Wayback Machine Jazzwise
  7. ^ "2010 Parliamentary Jazz Award Nominations announced" PPL 9 April 2010
  8. ^ "MOBO Awards 2010 Winners" BBC archives accessed 7 February 2019
  10. ^ "Brecon Jazz Festival: Phronesis, The Hall Christ College, review" The Telegraph 14 August 2011
  11. ^ "Brecon Jazz festival – review" The Guardian 16 August 2011
  12. ^ "Phronesis' Pitch Black: London, UK, November 16, 2011" All About Jazz 17 January 2012
  13. ^ "Phronesis:Walking Dark" All About Jazz 30 March 2012
  14. ^ "QEH Review". The Guardian. 8 April 2013.
  15. ^ "The Pace Report: "Overcoming The Darkness"" The Pace Report 19 July 2013
  16. ^ "A resounding success for the 21st birthday of the EFG London Jazz Festival" Serious 26 November 2013
  17. ^ "Mobo awards 2014" The Guardian 23 September 2014
  18. ^ "Phronesis: Life to Everything review – powerful live album from unusual jazz trio" The Guardian 10 April 2014
  19. ^ "Phronesis and tenor titans Archie Shepp and Joe Lovano fire up Cheltenham" Jazzwise 6 May 2015
  20. ^ "REVIEW: Phronesis with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band at Milton Court (2015 EFG LJF)" London Jazz News 24 November 2015
  21. ^ "Phronesis review – they're a killer live band" The Guardian 13 June 2016
  22. ^ "Phronesis: Parallax" All About Jazz 21 March 2016
  23. ^ "PHRONESIS - THE BEHEMOTH" Written in Music 29 March 2017
  24. ^ "Winners announced for Parliamentary Jazz Awards" JazzFM 11 October 2017
  25. ^ "10 Questions for Musician Jasper Høiby" The Arts Desk 27 July 2016
  26. ^ a b "Phronesis’ New Album ‘We Are All’ Reviewed" Nextbop 18 September 2018
  27. ^ "REVIEW: Phronesis Walking Dark at Pizza Express Jazz Club" London Jazz News 18 June 2018
  28. ^ Phronesis Official Instagram Account (11 February 2020). "Extended Break Announcement". Instagram. Retrieved 14 August 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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