The Bobo Stenson Trio, Sphere Review
by Icrom Bigrad
The Bobo Stenson Trio is back with another ECM release Sphere. The Swedish pianist is accompanied by Anders Jormin on bass and percussionist Jon Fält. Together the trio explores nine songs, two originals by Jormin – ‘Kingdom of Coldness’ and ‘Unquestioned Answer,’ with the remaining selections comprising interpretations of Scandinavian composers. Stenson explains, “We don’t have a way of playing ‘ready-made.’ Things crystallise in the moment, and we adjust to that. And that’s the quintessence. That’s the joy of playing together, to never do the same thing twice and to be determined about that.”
The trio beings their fluent investigation with a flowing version of “You Shall Plant a Tree.” Stenson’s piano playing is textured and to the point, as the three work together to form a musical space of calm, intrigue, and pastel colors. The song develops over time and perfectly exemplifies this trio’s unique musical chemistry.
“Ky and Beautiful Madame Ky” is a fine moment on the album where the trio builds the energy to a level seldom heard. Again, Fält’s colors drive the motion, with Stenson adding colors and hues for Jormin to anchor and segway between. This trio does have a language that is their own. Furthermore, the Nordic influence is always a nice touch. “Spring” also has a moment of energetic activity.
Sphere is The Bodo Stenson Trio exploring a set of music that stimulates their interactions and imagination. Stenson’s piano playing is richly textured, and Jormin and Fält are the perfect bandmates to explore the Scandinavian composers. Sphere will appeal to all ECM fans, fans of Stenson, European jazz fans, and even third-stream jazz fans.