Bobo Stenson Trio: Cantando (ECM/Ode)

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Bobo Stenson Trio: Song of Ruth
Bobo Stenson Trio: Cantando (ECM/Ode)

Swedish pianist Stenson is one of those rare individuals who extends the contract of improvisation by deliberately drawing on diverse source material, which gives him and his musicians different starting points.

This time out he pulls tunes from Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman, Alban Berg and Astor Piazzolla: so that's compositions by a trumpeter and saxophonist, a classical musician and a tango legend. Not bad.

And there's a special democracy at work here as the trio of Stenson, his longtime bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Jon Falt get equal and ample space. The supportive punctuation of Jormin in Song of Ruth (then his arco work) and Falt's sharp and sometimes unexpected stick work ground the otherwise air-filled piece; Stenson is in commanding but restrained form on M, and the centre-piece Pages allows the trio to stretch out over a full 15 or more minutes.

Piano trio improvisation at its most inventive best. 

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