Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
389

Bobo Stenson/Anders Jormin/Paul Motian: Goodbye

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count Views
Bobo Stenson/Anders Jormin/Paul Motian: Goodbye Five years have passed since Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson released his last disc on the ECM label, the sublime Serenity. It's not that he's been quiet or absent during that time, having recorded albums like last year's duet with saxophonist Lennart Aberg, Bobo Stenson/Lennart Aberg. But the limited availability of his Swedish releases has meant that for the most part, and with the exception of appearances on a number of ECM's :rarum compilations, he's been out of the eye of the greater international public.

And that's a shame. What's become increasingly apparent with Stenson's body of work, especially since returning to the ECM fold as a leader in '96 with Reflections, is that while he may not have the visibility of Keith Jarrett, he clearly possesses the same cachet as a deeply personal interpreter. Certainly he's a more rarefied pianist, less likely to impress by virtue of overt technical expertise, although it would be impossible to create the music he does were he not a formidable player. No, Stenson's strength is in his ability to go deep into material—any material—and find the hidden and more evasive truths that others might not.

One of the best examples on his latest trio record, Goodbye, is his take on Stephen Sondheim's too-often-covered "Send in the Clowns." While so many others introduce a sense of blatant melodrama, Stenson and his trio intimate a more elusive and bittersweet quality that is at the same time somehow more real, more relatable... and more fresh. His collaborators on this date are long-time musical partner Anders Jormin on bass and a relative newcomer to the trio, drummer Paul Motian, who has recently returned to ECM with a remarkable flurry of present and planned future activity.

Stenson is never one to overstate his purpose, most often creating suggestions that demand the listener participate more closely and draw his or her own conclusions. And whether it's Jormin's arrangements of music by Argentinean Ariel Ramirez and Soviet Vladimir Vysotsky—obscure composers, both misunderstood in their time—or more well-known pieces by Ornette Coleman and Tony Williams, the trio's approach is purely democratic, making no instrument predominant and every one absolutely essential.

There are, of course, moments where a particular instrument comes to the fore—Jormin's plaintive arco work at the beginning of Tony Williams' "There Comes a Time," for example. But it's more akin to a conversation where one participant suggests a point of view and then draws back, looking for other opinions and reactions. And while Motian's sense of time is as elastic as Christensen's ever was, it's even subtler and filled with greater implication.

As spacious and ethereal as Goodbye can be, it's equally dynamic, with its own forward motion. The trio rarely swings in a traditional sense, although songs like Coleman's "Race Face" hint at it, more collectively than through any one individual. But in the final analysis, it's a sense of discovery which includes the listener as an active participant that elevates Goodbye above the endless stream of piano trio recordings released every year.

Visit Universal Classics on the web.


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.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Discography
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Indicum
Indicum
ECM Records
2012
buy
Cantando
Cantando
ECM Records
2008
buy
Goodbye
Goodbye
ECM Records
2006
buy
Goodbye
Goodbye
ECM Records
2005
buy
[no cover]
Bobo Stenson/Lennart...
MGM Records
2003
buy
Rarum: Selected Recordings of Bobo Stenson
Rarum: Selected...
ECM Records
2002
buy
Brad Mehldau Brad Mehldau
piano
Enrico Rava Enrico Rava
trumpet
Jan Garbarek Jan Garbarek
sax, tenor
Steve Kuhn Steve Kuhn
piano
Kenny Wheeler Kenny Wheeler
trumpet
Paul Motian Paul Motian
drums
Gary Burton Gary Burton
vibraphone
Ralph Towner Ralph Towner
guitar

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.