The title of this release has a type of finality to it, especially considering the somberness of the tunes therein. This is meticulously crafted jazz, atmospheric and full of spare landscapes. Pianist Bobo Stenson, bassist Anders Jormin and the wonderfully restless drummer Paul Motian play with imagination and economy, Stenson with a facility and tenderness that recalls Bill Evans, a similarity driven home by the presence of Motian, an Evans alum. During a recent gig at Birdland, the trio played selections from the disc, navigating the challenging tunes without wasting a single note.
"Send In the Clowns begins with a burst of color and Stenson's interpretation of the lush melody deepens the poignancy of Sondheim's classic show tune. "Rowan practically bursts at the seams, especially with the urgency of Motian's ride cymbal; "Alfonsina is a tender waltz that sounds like "Autumn Leaves trying to escape from a chrysalis. Stenson plays his bluesiest solo on the disc on "There Comes A Time, and Motian's cymbal flourishes frame Stenson's dark interior dialogue on "Song About Earth.
"Seli is another solemn tune with Stenson playing his most splendid runs before the song ends abruptly. The trio finally gets loose on Ornette Coleman's "Race Face, the only piece not played at a measured pace. Stenson grooves like a champ, Jormin plucks with fury, and Motian is at his most brilliantly effusive.
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.
Bobo Stenson: piano;
Anders Jormin: bass;
Paul Motian: drums.