Bobo Stenson Trio ‘Contra La Indecisión’ CD (ECM) 4/5

There has been a wait of some six years for this trio to record together again with the much praised, ‘Indicum’ setting a high bar to match, and yet the belated follow up is every bit as strong and reflective. It is no accident that this trio have performed as one for over three decades and this includes being the rhythm section for, at different periods, both Charles Lloyd and Tomasz Stanko. Some have remarked on the parallel with the classic Bill Evans trio that included bassist Scott La Faro, whose life was tragically taken away, and certainly those comparisons are not without merit. On this occasion, however, the album is a good deal more straightforward than it’s predecessor, and for that reason is easier to digest for listeners who may be new to the trio. Once again, Stenson showcases his love of both Cuban and Spanish music, with the title track a delightful composition by singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez who is something of a hero for the Swedish leader. Another treat is an interpretation of the Catalan classical composer Frederic Mompou, with an extended version of, ‘Cancion y danza VI’, while quite possibly strongest of all is a refined reading of the Erik Satie piece, ‘Elégie’, which starts off in a more conventional classical vein, but then as the piece develops shifts into jazz and later rapid mode. As a whole, this is a recording that is full of intimate creativity, even if the extended bow playing will not be to everyone’s liking. An exemplary piano trio performance.

Tim Stenhouse