Bobo Stenson

Selected Recordings (Rarum VIII)

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Bobo Stenson's entry in the ECM Rarum series contains 13 tracks, culled from four solo albums and 13 sideman appearances since 1971. (There's a nearly 20-year gap in Stenson's ECM output, from 1975 to 1993.) Though it's presented non-chronologically, this music tells a remarkably coherent story. Stenson found his voice early and stuck with it, no matter who was leading the session. There are three pieces from 2000's Serenity, widely regarded as one of his best efforts (he apparently agrees, for the Rarum programs are entirely artist-chosen). One also hears samples of the pianist's work with Charles Lloyd, Tomasz Stanko, and -- most grippingly -- Don Cherry, who duets with Stenson on Ornette Coleman's "What Reason Could I Give" and is heard in a quintet setting on "Ahayu-Da," the final track from 1993's Dona Nostra. "Svevende" and "Witchi-Tai-To" document Stenson's early-'70s collaborations with Jan Garbarek, in a group that would later morph into Keith Jarrett's famed European quartet. (On "Witchi-Tai-To" Garbarek is wrongly credited on tenor. He plays soprano.) Two wildly contrasting trio covers, of Duke Ellington's "Reflections in D" (1993) and Ornette Coleman's "Untitled" (1971), appear back to back toward the end of the program, revealing the breadth of Stenson's jazz influences.

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