Bobo Stenson Trio
Contra La Indecis¡on
I’ve been listening to this album for some time now – this review is super late, the album’s been out over a year now, but I’m placing it here for those that may wish to find it, either because you’ve heard the album and loved it and want to hear someone’s take on it – or because this might send you to an exquisite set of deeply intuitive, calmed and wondrous trio jazz recordings.
The Bobo Stenson Trio is quite something. Formed by Swedish jazz pianist Stenson it has been in existence for four decades with bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Jon Fait. Stenson has a parallel career as a sideman working with the likes of Red Mitchell, Charles Lloyd, Jan Garbarek, Don Cherry, George Russell and Tomasz Stanko – but it’s through his trio that a full vocabulary has been developed. Covers, originals, improvisation – it all mingles, And this, the trio’s first record after a six-year gap is a quiet, purposeful set of pieces – it’s quite the revelation in fact.
The album opens with the nearly-title track (Canción Contra La Indecis¡on) which almost feels like a trio-take on the music (and mood) expressed across Keith Jarrett’s seminal Concert. Just a stateliness and serenity.
The drums usher in Doubt Thou The Stars and as clattering percussion dots the edges of the framework supplied by Stenson, a beautiful bowed bassline creates a counter-melody. There’s the nocturnal scrapings and crepuscular mood of many an ECM release but this is gentler, less alienating, more encouraging for an audience still feeling out anything free and improvised.
The bass then provides the intro to Three Shades of a House, so there’s a clear statement here that this is trio – this is a band, this is not only Bobo Stenson’s vision, rather it’s the sum of the parts and in a sense it’s as if we’re being given alternate views, new ways in to each tune. It’s as if they’re saying, ‘take a look at it from this angle now…’
The piano always calmly lyrical, the drums flicker and dart, stabbing and adding colour and texture, long-drawn bows from the bass to elongate and help the tunes in their state of what feels like constant evolution.
It’s just such a perfectly defined, exquisitely realised trio sound. The sound that comes from 40 years of working together, growing and now always knowing exactly what to do and when and how. Here we hear adaptations of Bartok and Satie as well as the band’s originals, all so perfectly produced by Manfred Eicher.
If you already know this group you’ll know to hear this – if this is your introdction you’re in for such a sweet treat.
Bobo Stenson Trio