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Jacob Young: Evening Falls

Evening Falls is the first recording on a major label for Norwegian-American guitarist Jacob Young, and it is bright with promise. Young’s sound has some of Pat Metheny’s seductive warmth and resonant richness, and he possesses a gift for finding epiphanies of melodic narrative, irresistible hooks and resolutions. Young’s nine originals on Evening Falls are remarkable for their freshness, grace and lyrical purity. Songs like “Blue” and “The Promise” deserve to become jazz standards. They have the requisite inevitability, sounding as if they have always been here.

With the unusual instrumentation of trumpet, bass clarinet, guitar, bass and drums, Young sets crosscurrents in motion and provides for subtle continuous counterpoint. Two other brilliant young Norwegian musicians make their debuts. Trumpeter Mathias Eick is only 24, but he plays precise, stark lines of aching melancholy. Mats Eilertsen may be the next in a long line of great Scandinavian bassists. Together, Eilertsen and the wily veteran of this band, drummer Jon Christensen, generate a restless, flickering energy that gives this music its quiet fire.

There is improvisation on Evening Falls, but each individual statement emerges organically from Young’s group concept, and then returns to it. While Young’s guitar does not dominate, it sometimes feels like the purpose of this project is to wrap a particular ensemble around his instrument, for deep context and provocative contrast and subtle, intricate interplay. Young’s chosen moments in the forefront are the luminous pinnacles of the album.

Originally Published