Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Bobo Stenson Trio, Sphere, ECM ****

A heavyweight listen that rewards maximum concentration this trio of pianist Bobo Stenson, bassist Anders Jormin and drummer-percussionist Jon Fält has been together for a long time and there is a gravitas to what they do that such a long …

Published: 28 Feb 2023. Updated: 16 months.

A heavyweight listen that rewards maximum concentration this trio of pianist Bobo Stenson, bassist Anders Jormin and drummer-percussionist Jon Fält has been together for a long time and there is a gravitas to what they do that such a long association has helped create. It is no exaggeration to claim that the Stenson trio is one of the greatest jazz piano trios in Europe of recent decades and this latest output recorded last year only goes to underline that idea. Stenson shares a lot in common with the late John Taylor and fans of JT will locate a certain solace and beyond in this Lugano recording when they listen to Stenson. While often an austere listen shaped around compositions (and arrangements) by Jormin and with repertoire also spanning the Norwegian pianist and composer Alfred Janson, Danish composer Per Nørgård, Swedish composer Sven-Erik Bäck and the great Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius, Stenson escapes the barriers of any structures to radiate outwards his particular sense of freedom. And you get this factor especially on Jormin's hugely expansive piece 'Kingdom of Coldness'. Fält's touch at the beginning of 'Communion Psalm' is perfect and here Stenson's devout statement and recapitulation of his theme has a dimensional exactitude that is almost baroque in its sense of discipline and immaculate symmetry. 'You Shall Plant a Tree' from Sphere is streaming. The full album release date is 17 March.

MORE READING:

Bobo Stenson trio's Contra la indecisión - 2018 review

Bobo Stenson trio's Indicum - 2012 review

Jon Fält, Bobo Stenson, Anders Jormin. Photo: Caterina Di Perri/ECM

Tags:

Ralph Alessi Quartet, It's Always Now, ECM ***

Sometimes descriptive language is inadequate. It's Always Now is a case in point as nothing here falls in any easily delineated genre. Perhaps if you take out the rear view mirror and cast it over 'Tumbleweed' the mood hovers not far from the …

Published: 28 Feb 2023. Updated: 16 months.

Next post

rsz_1ra

Sometimes descriptive language is inadequate. It's Always Now is a case in point as nothing here falls in any easily delineated genre. Perhaps if you take out the rear view mirror and cast it over 'Tumbleweed' the mood hovers not far from the cosmos of Tomasz Stańko or Enrico Rava because of the high levels of plangent abstraction trumpeter Ralph Alessi brings to us. 'Hanging By a Thread' has more of a chopping insistence, a jagged Paul Motian-like momentum served up by drummer Gerry Hemingway while Alessi - an American who now lives in Switzerland - is so expressive in that mournful way of his. Pianist Florian Weber's role as chief harmonist is carefully veiled and against the morse-like eerily almost non-human sounds that Alessi teases from his horn on the remarkable 'Hypnagogic' he allows us to enter a specific almost inert consciousness.

Pervasively dour ('Old Baby') most of the tunes are Alessi's. They form a powerfully individual thesis from a player who knows how to put his own band and compositional theories into his own time travelling, mysteriously serene and always humane, orbit. Out on 17 March. 'The Shadow Side' and 'Migratory Party' from the album are streaming ahead of release. Gerry Hemingway, Bänz Oester, Ralph Alessi, Florian Weber, photo: Luca Alfonso d'Agostino/ECM

MORE READING: