Jacob Young: Eventually

The Norwegian guitarist is known for understatement, but here he shows he can pulse a bit too, albeit in a veiled, minor manner

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I first encountered guitarist Young at the 1999 Kongsberg Jazz Festival, in a characterful group gig featuring his compatriot, the Norwegian poet Jan Erik Vold. Subsequently, I enjoyed Young’s ECM debut of 2002, Evening Falls – a date of archetypal Nordic hue featuring Mathias Eick (t), Vidar Johansen (bcl), Mats Eilertsen (b) and Jon Christensen (d) which was released in 2004.

While reviews of Evening Falls (including my own for JJ) emphasised Young’s capacity for patient, laid-back understatement – further evident in his later ECM releases Sideways and Forever Young – the wide-ranging material on Jacob Young & Urban Gardening, cut in 2018 for Young’s own Oslo Session Recordings label, evinced a rich and surprising range of diversely voiced, up-and-danceable melody and rhythm.

Consistently captivating, the diversely up-and-grooving Eventually features Young material throughout. In part, the album harks back to the earlier ambience of Evening Falls, especially in the relatively brief slice of slowly turned and building Nordic mood that is Northbound. But if there is plenty of Young’s poetic sensibility and mellow understatement to enjoy (sample The Meaning Of Joy) much of this music serves to remind us that, for all his Nordic leanings, this open-minded guitarist’s elective affinities include Kenny Burrell and Peter Bernstein, Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny.

Young’s elegant and harmonically intriguing lines now float, now groove across and within a stimulating variety of in-the-pocket contributions from Eilertsen (b) and Kleive (d). The last named, known for his work with Terje Rypdal, contributes a tasty range of figures as judicious as they are propulsive (with brushes featured on, e.g., the Metheny-touched Moon Over Mano).

Kleive’s more assertive inclinations help make the tough, ostinato-fed and tautly grooved Schönstedtsrasse the most immediately arresting track, but there’s not a moment here which doesn’t compel. Hear the lovely, relaxed emergence of the propulsive spring and mellow bounce of the opening title piece, the ringing and singing guitar sound and lines of I Told You So In October or the patient cultivation of line and accent on Inside, where Eilertsen’s lucid pizzicato figures shine – as they do throughout. A terrific session.

Discography
Eventually; I Told You In October; Moon Over Meno; One For Louis; Schönstedtsrasse; Northbound; The Dog Ate My Homework; The Meaning Of Joy; Inside (42.48)
Young (elg); Mats Eilertsen (b); Audun Kleive (d). Gjøvik, May 2021.
ECM 488 3269