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Bobo Stenson Trio

Cantando

(ECM; US: 9 Sep 2008; UK: 25 Aug 2008)

Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson rarely puts a finger wrong, and his ability to draw a Nordic hush from the unlikliest of material often has critics eating out of his right hand. Here his new-look live trio—with longtime bassist Anders Jormin and feted drummer Jon Fält—make their endlessly engrossing studio debut, titling their efforts, rather misleadingly perhaps, in Spanish. Though the album opens with a piece from Cuban Nueva Trova veteran, Silvio Rodriguez, and paces Astor Piazolla’s “Chiquilin de Bachin” midway through, both covers are couched in the kind of precipitative, note-perfect sobriety Stenson has made his own, and in which he loses himself throughout, not least on two readings of Peter Eben’s “Song of Ruth”. It’s through a mesmeric arrangement of an old Don Cherry number, though, that Stenson, Fält and Jormin really lock in to the clarity their music so often seems to be driving at; an incantatory vision of African-rooted repitition and Northern disconsolation, Don’s Corapiece is the sound of Stenson in bittersweet limbo.

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