The young guitarist Jakob Bro has not only made an impression on the Danish jazz scene; as part of the group led by legendary drummer Paul Motian, Bro also performs with many top American musicians. These can be heard on the Motian Group's album Garden of Eden (ECM 2006), where Bro enters a musical soundscape whose intense and atmospheric expression he has carried over into his own music.
Motian's way of writing and playing music has been a great source of inspiration to me. His melodies and harmonies are fantastically strong, which makes it easy to open up the sound without losing the actual core of the individual compositions.
Bro has never received any musical training besides short periods spent at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, the Berklee College of Music in Boston and New School University in New York. His encounter with the jazz scene in New York, however, has markedly influenced his music. Here he took lessons from Ben Street and Chris Cheek, and gradually made contact with many of the musicians whose records he had admired. One day, this led to a job as guitarist with Paul Motian.
Jakob is really talented ... he did a nice record of his own and he sent it to me. It's really nice; it's really different. (Paul Motian, AllAboutJazz)
The partnership with Motian has also enabled Bro to get some of the leading musicians in jazz to play on his own projects. Mark Turner, Chris Cheek, Ben Street and Paul Motian, for example, all play on Bro's third album in his own name, Pearl River (Loveland 2007).