BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Given that Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson has been active since the sixties, it’s surprising that Contra la indecisión is only his tenth album as a leader. Working with his regular sidemen bassist Anders Jormin – his musical partner of four decades – and drummer Jon Fält, Stenson essays a wideranging program that emphasizes melody over dissonance and interplay over improvisation. That’s not to say there isn’t some fire here – Jormin’s “Oktoverhavet” and “Stilla” ride undulating grooves, and the threesome’s teamwork comes to the fore on the group improv “Kalimba Impressions” and a peppy version of Erik Satie’s “Elégie.” But Stenson’s lyrical keyboard touch lends itself most keenly to the atmospheric impressions of Belá Bártok’s “Wedding Song From Poniky,” Jormin’s “Doubt Thou the Stars” and his own “Alice,” and Jormin and Fält understanding exactly how to support his style. In many ways, Contra la indecisión is typical of the European jazz model ECM has so carefully documented over the past fifty years – those looking for any hard swing will be disappointed. But it’s also a fine example of the form by a stalwart practitioner that underscores the appeal of the style.
DOWNLOAD: “Elégie,” “Kalimba Impressions,” “Alice”