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Anders Jormin: Touching the Heart and Spirit

By Published: October 4, 2004

"I really admire Bobo's ability to improvise in the truest meaning," continues Jormin. "I can honestly say that, having played a lot of concerts with him and, for short periods, basically the same material evening after evening, it is never the same. From the first note it may be completely different. That was a big inspiration for me and I still admire it, because in the whole world of jazz players, I have actually come to realize that few are true improvisers, and Bobo is one of them. His music is not built upon patterns or anything like that - pre-worked arrangements. And he is never interested in trying to redo the success of last night. If you suddenly come up with something interesting onstage it's very tempting to do it again. He is not very interested in that, and that's also a good example of a really strong improviser. Additionally, he has classical studies in his background, and on the records we have done together there's always a couple of classical pieces, most of them from my pen or suggestions/arrangements from me, but he is always happy when I come up with them."


Jormin's second album, Eight Pieces also featured Stenson, but in a larger ensemble and, at the same time, Jormin began to work as part of Stenson's own trio. For his third release, '91's Alone , Jormin would make a move that is risky even for an established bassist, by recording an album of solo double-bass music. But the album, which combined in-the-moment improvisations with lyrical interpretations of material by artists including one of his favourite composers, the Cuban Silvio Rodriguez, established Jormin's reputation as a bassist of note. "The album actually gained me enormous positive credit for many years," Jormin says. "That record suddenly gained me a name as one of the major bassists in Scandinavia, basically overnight. I received many different awards and prizes, so sometimes it's worth taking the risk."

Charles Lloyd and Tomasz Stanko

His association with Stenson would lead to his first recording for ECM, Charles Lloyd's '92 recording, Notes from Big Sur. "That was my first experience with Manfred Eicher," Jormin says, "playing with Charles Lloyd. I think Charles must have asked Bobo who he should use, and Bobo recommended me. I know he was very happy with the band during those years. It meant a lot to him. We had some wonderful years and tours, some great experiences for me, I'm very happy for that period."

While Lloyd would supply almost all the compositions for the four recordings Jormin made with him, he trusted his group's instincts implicitly. "His compositions," explains Jormin, "were quite often just sketches, a little unfinished or a little vague, probably on purpose. He would come with directions, because we did rehearse—not very much, but we did rehearse. But his directions were very typical Charles Lloyd—I can give you an example from my first rehearsal, which I'll never forget. He looked at me and said, 'Give me some St. Petersburg.' That was what he wanted to hear from me, and I was of course, quite unsure. What kind of music is that? And another, 'Take me to India.' Most of his instructions were so emotional and coloured by his imagination and his way of thinking musically, so what they actually meant, both for me and for Bobo, was, 'Go ahead guys, and play what you think fits the simple sketch I've done.' Bobo and I would also do some work with his compositions—we added a chord here, added a bar there, and suddenly the sketches worked very well. Charles never asked, 'What did you do with this composition, suddenly it sounds good,' but it was ultimately a good collective process."

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