Artist: Sinne Eeg & Thomas Fonnesbæk
Album: Staying in Touch
Label: Stunt Records
Year Of Release: 2021
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
1. Spring Waltz (3:27)
2. Too Close for Comfort (4:14)
3. Orphans (feat. LiveStrings) (5:55)
4. Take Five (3:47)
5. The Streets of Berlin (feat. LiveStrings) (4:50)
6. The Long and Winding Road (4:14)
7. How Deep is the Ocean? (4:54)
8. Just One of Those Things (1:39)
9. Round Midnight (7:45)
10. Those Who Were (feat. LiveStrings) (6:15)
11. The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines (2:43)
Sinne Eeg (vocals),
Thomas Fonnesbæk (bass) + Live Strings #3, 5 & 10:
Andrea Gyarfas Brahe, Karen Johanne Pedersen (violin),
Deanna Said (viola),
Live Johansson (cello);
Jesper Riis (string arrangements)
This is not your typical jazz album and these artists are no ordinary people. Only one singer and one bassist could make this extraordinary album shine the way it does. But as soon as you hear the first notes, you might begin to wonder why listeners are so rarely presented with a vocal/bass duo of this caliber. In this music, there’s room to breathe fresh air and drink in the refreshing creativity and spontaneity of both celebrated headliners.
Not many recordings in the history of jazz consist of this unique musical instrumentation. Some will be familiar with the collaborations of Sheila Jordan and bassists Steve Swallow, Harvie Swartz, and Cameron Brown – as well as Jordan’s work with Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen on SHEILA in 1978. When Sinne Eeg and Thomas Fonnesbæk joined that very short list with their first album in 2015, reviewers in Denmark and around the world went digging deep into their thesauruses for glowing superlatives, and EEG-FONNESBÆK ended up taking home the Danish Music Award for Best Vocal Jazz Release that year. This is a little advanced warning to critics and reviewers to dust off their dictionaries and start synching with their synonyms, because the arrival of the duo’s sequel album is upon us, entitled STAYING IN TOUCH.
Fortunately for listeners, the two Danish stars kept their collaboration alive and over the years since 2015 they have achieved an even greater responsiveness to each other, down to the smallest microscopic musical details. When a musical surplus of both the technical and tasteful is as apparent as here, it’s a wonder to behold. With their stripped-down approach to the material, their eminent interplay, and their acute sonic-self-awareness, they bring out the best in each other. The structural limitation established in this specific duo format is a challenge that also allows the duo a special musical freedom. They each possess presence and responsiveness, and their approach to the classic material makes it as fresh and articulate as if the songs were modern originals. It’s a listening experience further elevated by the presence of a string quartet on three tracks.
Sinne says she has always loved singing duo with bassists. “I’ve actually done it since my first CD from 2003, and I always do it at my live concerts. It’s just a sound I really like. Over the years, Thomas and I have worked together, on and off. He’s just an incredible musician and he and I communicate really well together, musically. I like the sound of the bass and the voice, and he is so challenging that I get better every time I sing with him.”
Eeg is a jazz singer who constantly seeks to challenge and better herself. It takes courage to perform an entire evening or fill an entire album with “just” a bassist. She embraces the sound of the acoustic stringed instrument in much the same way as Thomas warmly and openly caters to her voice, and together they create and float without any need for a drummer as a roleplaying timekeeper or a pianist to spell out harmonies. Nothing is missed with these two monster musicians at the tops of their respective games.
The Danish jazz bass tradition is famous for good reason, and remains a calling card of the Kingdom out in the greater jazz world. One of the more notable current stars is Thomas Fonnesbæk, who plays with an uninhibited technical flow, a melodic vein, and an exquisitely beautiful tone. Sinne and Thomas listen intensely to each other, inspiring themselves and the other to take chances – spawning spontaneity, communication, and empathy… the essence of jazz itself.