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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

BOBO STENSON

By Nils Jacobson
Published September 23, 2005

Goodbye
ECM

Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson has always cloaked his work in a certain dreamlike quality, but it’s never been quite so apparent as on his trio recordings. Stenson has recorded vigorously for more than three decades with Jan Garbarek, Don Cherry, Charles Lloyd, Tomasz Stanko and other jazz icons, but it took his three ethereal ’90s trio releases with bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Jon Christensen toawaken a new generation to his singular lyricism and grace. After a six-year hiatus, Stenson finally revisits the trio format on Goodbye; American veteran Paul Motian handles the drums. These 14 pieces include originals by each musician, as well as a range of unusual covers. They flow nicely together to yield a lightly swinging, melodic, and often moody suite.  Stenson’s playing is thoughtful but not academic, abstract but not abstruse, carefully phrased but never exacting. His swirls and pulses can suck you in, and if you’re willing to let go, you’ll find yourself in another place. Motian’s intermittent washes of sound and fluttering accents make it all the more lush, but never quite comfortable.