Looks like Phronesis (bassist Jasper Høiby, pianist Ivo Neame and, in this occasion only, drummer Mark Guiliana) are getting rave reviews, prizes and nominations everywhere, and being invited to a whole lot of festivals around the globe. What transpires from Alive is a series of facts. The cats can play for sure, exhibiting instrumental prowess all over the place, occasionally in rather gratuitous fashion (especially in the CD’s second half after they had started quite well with delicate atmospheres reminiscent of ECM-related transparencies slightly veiled by melancholic touches). Neame is the group’s actual beauty, the owner of a crystalline pianism that makes the compositions shine of a grace that goes beyond certain debatable choices. Ultimately, this record lasts too much at 73 minutes, and what was genuinely pleasant for the first 40 or so becomes a tedious regurgitation of clichés at the end. This reporter might resemble a balloon-deflating scorbutic, but the excess of accolades for this trio is unjustified.

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