Bobo Stenson Trio ‘Indicum’ (ECM) 4/5

Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson has, incredibly, been a staple musician at ECM since 1971 and now deserves pride of place alongside the cream of European jazz pianists of the calibre of Joachim Kühn, Enrico Pieranunzi and John Taylor. In fact the Swede is not in his mid-sixties, though one would not think so by his youthful appearance and renewed appetite for life. He has graced several important formations including Jan Garbarek’s group (1973-1979), the Charles Lloyd quartet and also the Tomasz Stanko band. Since the 1990s Stenson has become more prolific in his trio recordings and these include the wonderful ‘War Orphans’ from 1997 and his 2008 trio outing ‘Cantado’. His latest trio comprises Anders Jormin on bass and Jon Fält on drums. As always with Bob Stenson the judicious selection of pieces is as fascinating as the music itself and there is once more a Latin American contribution with the Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez’s ‘La peregrinación’, that most lyrical of pieces with an instant hook in the main theme, in tandem with some choice Scandinavian numbers. Stenson’s love of Bill Evans’ work is no great secret and indeed stylistically the Swede comes across as an in-between of Evans and McCoy Tyner. His admiration for the former is paid tribute to on the opener ‘Your story’ with a sense of sophistication that is entirely in keeping with Evans’ own approach. Another fine interpretation is that of Walf Biermann’s protest song ‘Ermutigung’ with the trio in full, expansive flow here while the title track is the gentlest of pieces. A feature of this latest album is the deliberate showcasing of Scandinavian music with Dane Carl Nielsen being referenced on ‘Tit er jeg glad’, a Norwegian traditional version of Ave Maria and some Norewgian folk from composer Oli Gjeilo on ‘Ubi caritas’. In particular the rhythm section of Jormin and Fält is a well moulded one and little wonder, then, that they performed together on Jormin’s ‘Ad Lucem’ CD from earlier in the year. As is normally the case with ECM studio recordings, the sound quality is flawless and picks up the slightest nuance of timbre. Tim Stenhouse

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