Anders Jormin: Touching the Heart and Spirit

John Kelman By

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While Eicher was originally meant to be there for the recording session, a broken leg prevented his traveling to Sweden and so, once again, Jormin was left with full artistic license. The album was originally meant to come from a live performance of the cycle but, unfortunately, events conspired against that happening. "The idea," Jormin says, "was to release, if not the very first performance, then the second performance. It was recorded, but church organs are very sensitive to humidity and temperature, and on that day the organ's tuning was very high, A was at 447, so the piano had to be tuned extremely high, which meant that on the last third of the concert the piano was out of tune. The recording of the cycle was a very good one, but we couldn't use it because the piano was so out of tune, so we had to rerecord it almost a year later."

Touring and Longevity

Jormin has done some shows in support of the release of In winds, in light , and hopes that the album will reach a broad audience. "I'm hoping for some recognition and, of course, good reviews," says Jormin, "and then we'll see what can be done in terms of touring. Of course we need special rooms; finding a room that has or can provide both a good piano and a good organ, that's a challenge. Another problem is that churches in Europe, in general, are a little too conservative to have concerts played, using the organ in this semi-secular kind of way, meaning that in many interesting rooms they do not want to have that kind of concert, while it is more liberal in Scandinavia; we can use churches as concert halls."

With the more project-oriented releases that Jormin has done, does he ever wish he had a more long-term, ongoing band? "I think the truth is," Jormin explains, "that my weak side is the organizing, gig-fixing side of things, meaning that many of my projects are the result of a commission. We do the commission concert, maybe one or two tours more, and then I simply don't have the time, energy and patience to sit down and organize myself. In Scandinavia, the system of concert agents doesn't really work. It's probably because it's so small, meaning there's not a lot of money for a concert agent unless we go down into Germany and south of that. No agents down in Europe have been that interested in selling my projects, because it's a little too difficult music or uses too many unknown Scandinavians, or whatever the reasons that they have had, and I haven't had the energy to go on myself. So after a project has been quite successful, a year passes and I go onto a new project and then that falls apart. I would really like to have a band, but being a composer, touring bassist and part time teacher, there is no time for me to hang on the telephone and do the business side."

Still, his ongoing relationship with Bobo Stenson provides Jormin with a longer-term project, although drummer Jon Christensen, who held the drum chair for many years, left a couple of years back. "Since Jon Christensen left the band for different reasons, we've had Paul Motian as the drummer for the trio. We've done a couple of tours but, for a variety of personal reasons, the trio hasn't worked very much for the last two years, since Paul became our drummer. Now the trio is back at work but Paul had a serious heart attack last year and has said that he'll never leave New York again. I don't know if he'll be able to persist with that. But we now have a new drummer, a very good young Swedish drummer. I actually wanted to record our new album with the new drummer, when we realized that Paul would no longer be touring with us, but Manfred felt that it should be Paul since that was the original idea for the recording, even though the recording had been postponed several times. The album was done in April of this year, and will probably be out around Christmas. That's a guess—it usually takes about a year from the recording to release for an ECM record, it's a very long time, sometimes longer. But Manfred is really happy with this record, he actually calls now and then just to say how much he loves it, so I have a feeling that the release date will be sped up a bit."

Heart and Spirit

While Jormin has enjoyed a strong reputation in Europe, and especially Scandinavia, for many years, now that his work is reaching a larger audience through ECM's international distribution, hopefully he'll make larger inroads elsewhere, in particular North America. While he has clearly forged some new directions for the double-bass, the reality is that he is far more than "just" a bassist; he is a consummate artist with a broad artistic vision that comfortably and seamlessly melds jazz, classical and Swedish folk music concerns into a deeply personal style. Jormin's albums may vary widely in terms of their instrumentation and concept, but constant is the drive to make music that challenges the mind while, at the same time, touching the heart and spirit.

Selected Discography

As a leader :
Nordic Lights (Dragon)
Eight Pieces (Dragon)
Alone (Dragon)
Jord (Dragon)
Once (Dragon)
Silvae (Dragon)
Xeiyi (ECM)
In winds, in light (ECM)

As a sideman with Bobo Stenson Trio :
Very Early (Dragon)
Reflections (ECM)
War Orphans (ECM)
Serenity (ECM)

As a sideman with Charles Lloyd :
Notes from Big Sur (ECM)
The Call (ECM)
All My Relations (ECM)
Canto (ECM)

As a sideman with Tomasz Stanko
Matka Joanna (ECM)
Leosia (ECM)
From the Green Hill (ECM)
About Anders Jormin
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