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--- Jun 20 2000 Go to category
Subject: Bobo Stenson
Category: Other Musicians
From: pat  vargo (Birmingham,MI)

Hi Pat! First, thanks for the recent trio tour-just beautiful and it was great to hear tunes fron Bright Size Life and thanks for putting Lone Jack on the new album, what a perfect group-Larry and Bill were just incredible.

I was wondering if you have had the opportunity to hear Bobo Stenson's Trio recordings including the recent Serenity album which is just impeccable, on his War Orphans album there are a few Ornette Coleman tunes that are just superb which leads me to ask if you and Ornette have considered doing another album together.

Pat’s Answer:

hi pat,

thanks so much for listening and i am glad you liked the trio stuff.

i have followed bobo's music for almost 30 years now, since the early stuff he did with jan garbarek in the early 70's.

he is an amazing musician who came up with a way of thinking of the piano in jazz that somehow had a real resonance to who he is a person and where he is from. his thing sort of evoked, very successfully in my opinion, the feeling of the north of europe. at this point, i bet those guys up there in scandinavia are sort of sick of hearing about it - "nordic jazz" and all that - but i mean it as a sincere compliment.

i think whenever you hear a musician and you can really hear who they are and something that is personal and important to them in their sound, it is great. somehow, especially in those early quartets with jan garbarek, bobo (along with jon christensen, who is one of the best drummers anywhere in the world and palle danielsson, a fantastically original bass player) somehow was able to conjur up a mood, a vibe, that had real meaning to those of us who had never really had an experience of what the "north" might sound like - they kind of transformed us with their sound - and that is about the best thing a musician can hope to do.

of the recordings by this band, i have one really big favorite - in fact, it is one of my favorite records of all time, and it is called "dansere", which i believe means "dancer" in norwegian(?).

not only is this record incredible for the playing and the tunes (the title tune is one of the best use of an "odd" meter i have ever heard - absolutely natural; it was only when i wrote it out that i even realized it wasn't in four) - it is also in my opinion one of the best recordings technically of its time. it, like many of the other ecm records of this period was recorded by jan-erik kongshaug, who captures the sound of the band with a detail that at the time this record came out was almost scary. there are still very few quartet records that i hear that are recorded and balanced with the same kind of clarity and perfect relationship to the music that is being played as this one.

yep, i love bobo's playing and everything about his music!

thanks for writing in.

best from pat

p.s. also, the arco bass/tenor blend that palle and jan get on this record on the title tune is classic!