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Bobo Stenson Trio: Serenity

Glenn Astarita By

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The 'Bobo Stenson Trio' pursues lucid expressionism akin to an artisan, as every pluck of the bass and well-placed note combined with master drummer Jon Christensen's acute stylistic approach, provides the optimum in group sensitivity and keen interplay. With this 2-CD set titled Serenity, pianist Bobo Stenson, bassist Anders Jormin and Christensen continue their artful and at times all encompassing approach to modern music as they harmoniously tackle Charles Ives, Wayne Shorter, Swedish folk songs and Cuban folk/pop amid several originals.

After respective stints with saxophonist Charles Lloyd, guitarist Terje Rypdal, the late Don Cherry and many others, these chaps have already clamped down their admirable positions within Europe's always fertile modern jazz scene as Serenity reaffirms these notions! Christensen's gently rolling tom fills spurs acute yet subtly climactic compositional development on Jormin's composition titled, 'T' as Stenson, ever the colorist, executes cunning lyricism atop Jormin's intricate voicings on 'West Print' as the band's overall approach is brimming with animated lines and richly melodic themes. The musicians implement shifting meter while skirting the free-jazz realm on Lorens Brolin's Swedish folk composition 'Polaska Of Despair (II)'. Here, the band enacts a variegated stream of themes and sequences, propelled by Stenson's altogether poignant yet thoroughly purposeful attack!

Throughout, the music is apt to be reflective as in Cuban songwriter Silvio Rodriguez' 'El Mayor' or steely edged and dark on the daunting, 'More Cymbals' yet the musicians accelerate the pace a notch or two on Alban Berg's 'Die Nachtigall' and others. Essentially, the band melds sonorous themes and subtle harmonies with quaint lyricism and radiant modern jazz-style compositional rhetoric. Overall, Serenity is an enterprising, penetrating and multicolored pastiche as these esteemed pro's wouldn't have it any other way! Recommended.

* * * * (out of * * * * *)


Track Listing: CD1: T., West Print, North Print, East Print, South Print, Polska of Despair II, Golden Rain, Swee Pea, Simple & Sweet, Der Pflaumenbaum (46:08). CD2: El Mayor, Fader V (Father World), More Cymbals, Extra Low, Die Nachtigall, Rimbaud Gedicht, Polska of Despair I, serenity, Tonus (44:25)

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

Title: Serenity | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: ECM Records


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