Frans Bak: Softer Than You Know

Danish pianist successful in film scoring returns to lead his own band in a smooth collection of ballads, sung by Sinne Eeg


Danish composer and pianist Frans Bak returns to his musical origins with this, the smoothest of smooth jazz releases. Having enjoyed success as a pianist, bandleader and composer, Bak also has a 25-year international career in film scoring under his belt, notably on the TV series Forbrydelsen and the US remake The Killing.

With time on his hands to reflect on things during the Covid-19 pandemic, Bak wanted to create the sound of his own band again, and here we are with the result. Bak’s soft, melodic collection of ballads features lyrics by Helle Hansen and an impressive performance from award winning vocalist Sinne Eeg. The whole thing is beautifully crafted, low-key and an enjoyable listen from start to finish. Peter Sprague offers some melodic, sensitive contributions on guitar, adding to the overall ambience of this chilled session.

Hushed drumming, bass and piano provide the perfect backdrop for Eeg to explore the feeling of the songs. She has a very listenable voice and is clearly in touch enough with the material to know that she doesn’t need to over-pickle things. Unlike many dreadful wannabe vocalists on talent shows, a professional like Eeg clearly understands that less can be so much more – no angst-ridden wailing vibrato to be heard anywhere here, thank goodness.

At times, the sentiments and simplicity of the songs may be a little syrupy for some, and the heart rate is unlikely to get above resting for 35 minutes or so. But that’s fine – Bak has achieved what he set out to do with this album, wrapping the listener in a warm blanket of musical pleasure that is hard to resist.

Softer Than You Know; Lonely Waltz; Out Of The Blue; Stay With Me; 1-2-3; Ready Again; Is This It?; When I’m Near You; I Will Never Let You Down; Close Your Eyes (36.40)
Bak (p); Sinne Eeg (v); Peter Sprague (g); Thomas Vang (b); Emil De Waal (d). Copenhagen, September 2022.
Storyville Records 1014359