JAKOB BRO : UMA ELMO

LABEL: ECM

ALBUM IN A SENTENCE: In collaboration with trumpeter Arve Henriksen and drummer Jorge Rossy, guitarist Jakob Bro builds freeform jazz improvisations with a strong instinct for melodic beauty.

The sun is all. It bleaches colour. It flattens ambition to do anything but drift inside and beyond an afternoon half-sleep. It dries. It burns. It presses on your limbs. It is too hot to move, too hot to stay, too hot to care.

Maybe this is a rock. Maybe it is a wildflower meadow. Puffs of dust rise. A solitary buzzard stands sentinel in the sky, the only shadow across the blue. The heat shimmer stretches everything almost out of focus. Maybe as you lie on the ground, you can feel the slow gears of this planet turning. Maybe it is oscillating.

Children chase at dust specks and sycamore helicopters. Maybe there is a playground close by with a concrete pipe half-buried beneath a mound of earth that they can climb inside to escape the fire, if they can be sure that the giant flesh-eating slug that lives inside the pipe is not home.

Last night feels important. There was a woman in a leather jacket and top hat and you couldn’t be sure if she had found it or lost it. Maybe there was something in the sunrise; something buzzing beyond the cockerel crow, something moving beneath your feet. If you stay too long, will you freeze like a statue from Pompeii, or crack like a pot you made in a craft class at school? Could the earth swallow you as fossil? It is too hot to move. It is too hot to remain.

You are aware of what could be a crust of salt starting to crystallise on your forehead. Is your body a battery that could carry this charge all through winter? What could be more innocent than to beach like a seal in the sun? The world has permission to keep turning, keep thrumming.

The sun pulls, drags, teases at your senses. A bee floats by. Somewhere close there is a conversation. It could be two friends, or a mute spaghetti western desperado wishing they hadn’t been polite to Don Quixote. This is the hottest summer since childhood. The hottest since forever. Maybe time is creeping forward like a trumpet. Maybe it is spooling backwards like a guitar.

Was there something in the sunrise? What mattered in the closeness of last night? What was it that guy was talking about that if Pink Floyd really set their controls for the heart of the sun, they’d be frozen in space first? So, maybe they would have to rely on the law of averages. Or the intergalactic weather forecast. Or maybe, it is just best to stay in the sun, at this exact distance, 93 million miles from the sun.

This is, or maybe what I believe this is, what Uma Elmo, the new album from Danish guitarist Jakob Bro, sounds like. In this heat, it’s hard to tell.

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