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Bobo Stenson/Anders Jormin/Paul Motian: Goodbye

Renato Wardle By

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Somewhere bewteen the worlds of twentieth century classical music, the music of Ornette Coleman, minimalism, and Scandinavian folk music exists the world of the Bobo Stenson Trio. Since the early '70s, pianist Bobo Stenson has been a vital member of several groundbreaking ECM groups, including those with Charles Lloyd and Tomasz Stanko, as well as the Jan Garbarek/Bobo Stenson quartet. However, it has been with his own trio that he has most completely established his own voice. On Goodbye, his trio continues to mold its own musical world.

Bobo Stenson possesses two traits that are rare among pianists: a proclivity for space, and a natural sense of momentum. On the Anders Jormin original "Rowan, he displays his uncanny ability to embrace silence during the rubato intro. During Vladimir Vysotsky's "Song About Earth," he patiently builds the tension of the piece, holding back just enough to keep the listener wanting more. Throughout Goodbye, Stenson exhibits his innate awareness of musical symmetry.

The late Scott LaFaro definitively established the role of the bassist in the piano trio over forty years ago. On Stephen Sondheim's "Send In The Clowns," bassist Anders Jormin continues in that tradition by showing how free a bassist can be without abandoning his rhythmic and harmonic function. "Sudan demonstrates the bass's capacity as a lead melodic instrument through his poignant arco playing. With a gift for melody and lyricism, Anders Jormin affirms that the bass can be just as expressive as any instrument.

Goodbye also marks a change in the drum chair, with Paul Motian taking over percussive duties from Jon Christensen. Having played in the genre-defining Bill Evans trio, he is the quintessential piano trio drummer. His playing is sparse and pared down to its absolute essence, whether he uses brushes or sticks. His brush playing on "Seli is more about texture than patterns, and his spartan cymbal work and drum interplay throughout Goodbye show his modern approach to his early bebop roots. Now in his seventies, Paul Motian continues to push the envelope of a genre which he helped to define over forty years ago.

The Bobo Stenson Trio continues to perform a highly varied repertoire. Goodbye presents compositions from each member of the trio, as well as from Ariel Ramirez, Stephen Sondheim, Tony Williams, Henry Purcell, Gordon Jenkins, and Ornette Coleman. With a penchant for twelve-tone music, Spanish-influenced pieces, free jazz, and folk music, Goodbye reveals the Bobo Stenson Trio as the very embodiment of the ECM philosophy of musical diversity.

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.

Title: Goodbye | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: ECM Records

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