2. Song of Ruth
3. Wooden Church
5. Chiquilin de Bachin
7. Don's Kora Song
8. A Fixed Goal
9. Love, I've Found You
11. Song of Ruth.
Bobo Stenson - Piano
Anders Jormin - Double bass
Jon Falt - Drums.
Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson's
latest album is a piano trio session very
much in the style we have come to expect from
some Scandinavian players. The music is understated
- almost minimal: unshowy but lyrical. Stenson's
playing has the thoughtfulness which distinguished
such pianists as Bill Evans, with a clear,
delicate touch which is perfectly caught by
the ECM recording.
Stenson's long-time bassist
Anders Jormin gets plenty of solo space and
newish drummer Jon Falt is the model of discretion.
Stenson is not afraid to include "classical"
compositions such as Petr Eben's Song of
Ruth (played twice) and Alban Berg's Liebesode
(on which Anders Jormin makes his double bass
cry out like an Indian sarangi). However,
the presence of such pieces may make you wonder
if this album deserves to be filed under "jazz".
In fact you will be disappointed if you like
foot-tapping jazz, since this is a much more
The title-track Cantando
is the Spanish word for "singing" and that
is exactly what this trio does - although
Pages, its 13 minutes-plus venture
into free improvisation sounds even more formless
than other tracks, resorting to the over-familiar
"free" devices of rattling drums and bitty
piano and bass. Some of its bittiness may
derive from it actually being four separate
pieces of improvisation segued together by
producer Manfred Eicher from seven pieces
of free improv. However, Ornette Coleman's
A Fixed Goal has the memorable melodic
element which made Ornette's compositions
The pensive placidity of
this album and its spaciousness generally
make for very pleasant listening. I just wonder
whether it deserves the high-flown eulogies
it has received from some reviewers. One critic
wrote about the opening track: "Arranging
the tune's repetitive, appeasing harmonies
so as to insufflate Rodriguez's theme of a
gently-rubbing, comfortable thrust...,the
trio susses out the piece's essence, to the
surfeit of Stensons fancies". Such inflated
verbiage deserves a place in Pseud's Corner,
but not in serious jazz writing.