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Bobo Stenson: Contra la indecision

Mike Jurkovic By

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Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson could be considered an anomaly amongst the ECM roster of piano players. His work over the past decades has been more controlled and, not to be taken as an insult or affront to Stenson's earthy lyricism, less challenging than the works of past and current label-mates such as Paul Bley, Marilyn Crispell, Carla Bley, Keith Jarrett, Craig Taborn, Vijay Iyer, Django Bates, Benedikt Jahnel, or Colin Vance.

Yet Stenson's deceptively beautiful molded organics have been highlights whether they've appeared under his own name as a leader or with the likes of Don Cherry, Charles Lloyd or other more iconoclastic music makers, and Contra la indecision might very well mark the pinnacle of Stenson's romantic style.

With a poppish/Latin lilt, "Cancion contra la indecision" by Cuban singer/songwriter Silvio Rodriquez, gets the trio's first disc in six years underway with a quiet, easy air. Bela Bartok's fragile "Wedding Song from Polinky" is as luxurious a listen as Erik Satie's eternally delicate "Elegie" is a ravishing up-tempo ballad of joy and exclamation; Stenson layering melody upon harmony while his long-standing, emphatic rhythm section of double bassist Anders Jormin sound-shapes drummer Jon Falt's sculpt time to secure Stenson the space needed to regale the listener.

All the music on this rarified disc resounds with a meditative poetry. "Alice," an outstanding composition from Stenson, sounds like it's always been somewhere in the back of your mind. Bassist Jormin's five contributions, especially the dark rumbling to release of "Three Shades of a House," "Stilla," and the haunting "Hemingway Intonations" roll like summer streams, taking you back to the source of inspiration and calm.

Track Listing: Cancion contra la indecision; Doubt Thou the Stars; Wedding Song from Polinky; Three Shades Of a House; Elegie; Cancion y Danza VI; Alice; Oktoberhavet; Kalimba Impressions; Stilla; Hemingway Intonations.

Personnel: Bobo Stenson: piano; Anders Jormin: double bass; Jon Falt: drums.

Title: Contra la indecision | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: ECM Records

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