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Interpreting established pieces from the familiar repertoire along with creative originals, Bobo Stenson and his trio deliver a lyrical performance that emphasizes relaxed clarity. The pianist's deliberate manner looks deep within itself for inspiration. He intones meaningfully and allows each phrase to simmer to its fullest extent. Along with two like-minded musical partners, bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Paul Motian, he explores sonic fullness with slow and deliberate care. The trio discovers each inhibited theme only after exhaustive soul-searching and through creative interplay. Stenson's luxurious piano phrases melt when exposed.
Jormin's "Seli" drifts casually, as if the music were floating on water and gently buoyed by the wind. Stenson's natural inclination for expressing what we feel works wonders on the soul. Henry Purcell's "Music for a While" folds its classical theme with a modern jazz walk. Ornette Coleman's "Race Face" appears upbeat as the trio drives it with a free spirit. The piece gives them occasion to jump into a rhythmic groove that closes the album with a positive glow.
In keeping with its title, Jormin's "Allegretto Rubato" runs helter-skelter without moving down the street in a linear fashion. The trio takes this one in little circles that ebb and flow with a free spirit. Stenson's Queer Street" relates an eerie feeling, while Motian's "Sudan" provides an exotic impression. Gordon Jenkins' "Goodbye" finds the trio enveloped in a slow ballad rendering that oozes reflective charms.
Most of the session moves slowly with deliberate expression. Bobo Stenson's focus remains tied to introspective interpretation and sharing with his audience a love for lyric beauty.
Track Listing: Send in the Clowns; Rowan; Alfonsina; There Comes a Time; Song About Earth; Seli;
Goodbye; Music for a While; Allegretto Rubato; Jack of Clubs; Sudan; Queer Street; Triple
Play; Race Face.
Personnel: Bobo Stenson: piano; Anders Jormin: double-bass; Paul Motian: drums.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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