01 Weightless buy
02 Evening Song buy
03 Vraa buy
04 Staring Point / Acoustic Version buy
05 Greenland buy
06 Terrace Place buy
07 Sort buy
08 Starting Point / Electric Version buy

Recorded and mixed at Avatar Studios, NYC, September 2008

Engineer: James Farber
Assistant: Brian Montgomery
Mastered in September 2009 at MacDonald Bonati Audio, Brooklyn.
Engineer: Michael MacDonald

Cover artwork: Line Jensen & Kathrine Baastrup


Balladeering marks a high point in Danish guitarist Jakob Bro’s merits at this point. On this album Bro has invited some of the most prominent contemporary jazz musicians to play his new songs, written exclusively for the occasion: Lee Konitz, Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, and Ben Street.

In many ways Balladeering appears as a unique meeting. Lee Konitz and Paul Motian both incarnate the formation and tradition of modern jazz from the 1950s and up till today. Bill Frisell, Ben Street, and Bro each represent later generations of innovative players who touch upon that very tradition. And so, the music found on Balladeering has a certain timelessness to it, bringing past and present together. Also, the eight compositions clearly express Bro’s fresh talent for shaping strong melodies and fundamental harmonic patterns that fit the other players perfectly. 

As indicated by the title of the album, the music takes place at a moderate pace. Something which makes the beautiful improvisations stand out even more distinctly. Listen for instance to Konitz’s lyrical meditations on Vraa or the heartbreaking cry of his alto saxophone on Starting Point / acoustic version. His sound bears a unique authority that is somehow also completely open to the tones and accents of the others. There is plenty of space for Frisell’s and Bro’s congenial guitar playing which seems to move organically, streaming underneath Konitz’s melodic solos. Elsewhere on the album duets between Frisell and Bro alone can be enjoyed. And very importantly, both Motian and Street do more than just providing a solid rhythmic ground – they are obviously interplaying as well, way beyond traditional time-keeping, adding to the harmonies and tints of the compositions, making them sing. 

The recording of the album took place at the famous Avatar Studios in New York. Young filmmaker Sune Blicher and his Danish film crew followed the musicians’ work closely in the studio. Weightless – a recording session with Jakob Bro offers a rare view into the vibrant, intensive process of combining song writing, improvisation and individual originality. The documentary film is co-released with the album. Danish poet and veteran film documentarist Jørgen Leth was present in the studio too. And what he writes about his experience of the music sums up very precisely what Balladeering is essentially about: “They play ballads – they balladeer. Not standard ballads, but original, flowing, impassioned pieces of music. It sounds like nothing I’ve heard. Which makes sense. That’s why they got together”. 

Winner of Jazz Album of the Year at Danish Music Awards Jazz 2010 and Album of The Year 2009 in Jazz Special. Balladeering/Time/December Song was nominated to the Nordic Council Music Prize.


Transcripted by Alex Oliverio
Download transcriptions:

Lee Konitz, solos from Balladeering:

Evening song Concert
Evening song_Eb

Vraa Concert

Starting point (acoustic) Concert

Greenland Concert

Terrace place Concert

Sort Concert

Line up:

Lee Konitz (alto sax)
Bill Frisell (guitar)
Jakob Bro (guitar/composition)
Ben Street (bass)
Paul Motian (drums)