19 Songs, 1 Hour, 30 Minutes

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Customer Reviews

5 out of 5

6 Ratings

A transcendent artistic achievement


I can only fault the album review at top in that it under praises this trio's work here. I'm a sucker for piano trios, all of them, from Bill Evans forward. This is the pinnacle of the form, and I write this 11 years after the record was released. What musicians, what telepathy, what range, from sensitively chosen compositions reverentially rendered to brilliant improvisations built on mutual listening which sound as if they were carefully composed. These pieces strike the head and the heart. I find them all particularly moving, yet the whole affair sounds as unforced as falling asleep. Repeated listening is thoroughly rewarding; the very free sounding Polska Of Despair II (on disc 1) oozes depth and melancholy in anticipation of the triumphant Polska of Despair I (on disc 2). Great art asks questions for which there often are no answers, and I'll be damned if Bobo's final piano phrase doesn't sound like a summary of all this music with a big "?" at the end of Tonus. Manfred and crew have turned in yet another heroically clear and unadorned recording, where the instruments sound the way they're supposed to sound: brilliant. Jormin anchors the proceedings so effortlessly, you almost forget he's there. I am a huge fan of Jon Christensen, and can't recall a better outing for him in 35 years of listening. But it's Stenson who's ascended into heaven and is speaking with the angels on this recording. He gets extra props for being a brilliant bandleader and artistic director as well.

I'm sinning in fashion like the main review. Words are inadequate, this is more than just a piano trio record. I'll shut up, but you: please listen.

About Bobo Stenson Trio

Swedish pianist/composer Bobo Stenson made a name for himself in the late '60s as one of Europe's finest players, accompanying visiting luminaries like Gary Burton, Sonny Rollins, and Stan Getz. Underwear, his 1971 debut as a leader, began an ongoing collaboration with ECM Records and with drummer Jon Christensen. Christensen also joined Stenson on sessions with Jan Garbarek in the '70s and Charles Lloyd in the '80s and '90s, and played in Stenson's revamped trio along with Anders Jormin. The Swedish Grammy-winning Reflections (1993), War Orphans (1998), and Serenity (2000) make the most of Stenson's lyrical, versatile style and the players' long history of working together.

Christensen left the group after the Serenity tour. Stenson recorded a pair of albums for the Mirrors label with different ensembles, and self-titled duet album with saxophonist Lennart Aberg in 2002 for Amigo, before returning to his trio work for ECM with Goodbye in 2005. The latter set featured Paul Motian in the drummer's chair. Stenson and Palle Danielsson co-led a band on 2007's Miles by Five for Touche Records. In 2007, Jon Fält became the Stenson trio's permanent drummer, first appearing on 2008's Cantando. This was followed by Indicum in 2012. ~ Heather Phares & Thom Jurek, Rovi

    Västerås, Sweden
  • BORN

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